Winter Projects: What Have You Been Putting Off? - Justin Lioi, LCSW - Brooklyn, NY

The Public Theater, NYCA few weeks ago I wrote about how men grieve, particularly fathers. The point I wanted to make was how important it can be for dads to know that it’s okay for their kids to see them upset during difficult times. It’s one of the best ways to teach them how to handle their own feelings. We call this modeling and it’s the best way to teach your child, well, just about anything.

As we move from the holiday winter to winter winter, as in January, February, maybe some March, it’s not a secret that people can feel sad, blue, or depressed for no particular reason. Even if you’re not being diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder, you can still be affected by the season.

The holidays (if you enjoy them, though many people don’t) are a time of anticipation, and that something you’re anticipating is only a month or so away when it’s December. And if the holidays are more stressful or sad for you then the next few months can be even more challenging.

In novels and movies, snow and ice are often symbolic of stagnation. That’s not what it needs to be for you. Take a tip from our ancestors and think of it more as a “storing up” time.

If you’re someone who really appreciates the Spring or Summer, can you use Winter as your time to prepare. Since Winter seems to go slower for a lot of people, why not take advantage of that time to do the stuff you never have time to do in the warmer months.

During the April to September time people are always yelling that you should get outside. For those of you who really enjoy being home, this is a time to not let yourself be guilted into doing something you don’t want to do. Stay in and read that book you’ve been putting off, go through that closet that you keep shut, find a new recipe, do a jigsaw puzzle.

I’m not one to tell people to keep busy in order to avoid a feeling, but sometimes I think it’s a good idea to jump into a project that you are more likely to talk yourself out of during busier times.

What projects would you like to work on this Winter?

Justin Lioi, LCSW is a men’s mental health and relationship expert based in Brooklyn, NY (and online throughout New York State and internationally.) He received his degree from New York University and has been providing counseling for men and their families for over 10 years. Justin is on the Board of the National Association of Social Workers and writes a weekly column for the Good Men Project called Unmasking Masculinity. He can be found on local and national podcasts talking about assertiveness, anger, self-compassion, all with the goal of becoming the man you want to be.