Monday, January 26, 2015
Thwarting the Winter Blues
Ladies and gentlemen, we have entered the Shlump. That dreadful time between the holidays and spring, when all is cold and icky and damp and slick. Our cars, boots, and foyers seem perpetually coated in salt. On the cold sidewalks, we bust our own groceries carrying the real groceries inside. We drive to and from work in the dark and glare at happy kids who get snow day while we shiver in our offices.
Or is that just me?
Personally, I find winter a difficult month to endure. Every January, my mom or husband remarks that I seem glum. Even though I love playing in the snow as much as anyone, I do find the long grey stretches a bit too long. So, I devised a list of ideas to thwart my winter blues.
Spending even just 20 minutes in the sunlight can help combat the January doldrums. I've noticed that whenever I take Solo on a longer walk, I come back inside feeling invigorated. The cold bites my cheeks and stings my eyes. It's like being shaken awake. If there are snowballs to throw, all the better. You know, because taking a snowball to the face would certainly wake one up.
Hit the gym.
Whenever I get home from work, I just want to collapse on the couch, a blob of coat and scarf. I don't want to lift even one finger. And the thought of going back out into that cold...to go to the gym? No way. But... Hitting the gym even in the dead of winter is integral to surviving the winter blues. As we all know, exercising not only benefits your health but boosts your mood due to the release of endorphins. So, rather than lounging on the couch working on my sweater-body, I've learned that taking the time to work on my bikini body does actually improve my winter mood.
Play a game.
The other night, an idea plopped into my head. Rather than sitting through another evening of Netflix, Mark and I decided to play cards. We grabbed a deck of cards, pulled the ottoman toward the couch, and taught each other game after game, In minutes, we were laughing. Give it a try! Turn off the TV and play a game with your family.
Buy a houseplant or fresh flowers.
Have you noticed that right now every grocery store has a phalanx of houseplants greeting you when you walk through the slidey-doors? There's a reason for that. Bringing a little green into the house reminds us of spring and warmth. While I haven't bought a houseplant yet (having a nosy puppy
means that the houseplant would be strewn across the floor), I have splurged and bought a few bouquets of fresh flowers. Seeing them on the kitchen table adds a splash of color and life to the inside even though the outside is still icky.
Keep your space clean and organized.
One benefit of being trapped inside: I'm forced to pay attention to problem areas in home organization. Since there's not much opportunity to get outside, I find myself poking around the pantry and those tippy-top cabinets, reorganizing and cleaning. Not only does purging and organizing help now, it benefits later in the year. No one ones to be cooped up in a disorganized, messy space. If I'm going to be stuck inside, it may as well be in a tidy space.
Bake something sweet and share it.
True, this seems in contradiction to the "hit the gym" idea. But, lately I've enjoyed trying out some sweet recipes on the weekends. The way to avoid acquiring some winter fluff is to simply share the goodies. Share them with your neighbors, your mailman, your friends. This way, I have an excuse to bake but also manage to get the baked goods out of the house.
Go out to dinner. Get a massage. Take a weekend trip. When all else fails, pamper yourself a little. After all, we all deserve an occasional treat.