I know I’m not the only one out there feeling a bit, well, BLAH right now. When the world is so stark and cold and grey, I get some serious seasonal blues and it makes feeling inspired so damn hard. And to top it off, my little peanut seems to be going through his own seasonal blues (aka: his molars are coming in) and has been fighting sleep like a champ – which means little sleep for Mama. Seriously folks, it feels as though my mind has been stuffed with cotton and I’m pretty certain a family of mice has now moved in.
SO, to force myself to feel a little more inspired, or at least a little less cotton-brained, I’ve been trying to think up ways to lift the spirit. Here’s what I have come up with so far:
1. GREENERY. I think having plants in the home is so important to one’s mental health. Even if you have a black thumb like me, there are still plants out there for you! Go for a cactus or anything labeled “plant of steel.” Or have a few herbs sitting in your kitchen window (you’ll remember to water them when they are staring you in the face while doing the dishes). Even one lonely plant will remind you that there are warmer days ahead and instantly lift the spirit.
2. MILK + TEA. I have recently been substituting tea in place of my coffee. I LOVE me a cup o’ joe, but after having multiple cups on a cold morning, I want to jump out of my skin. Hello caffeine kick! Insert tea. Multiple cups of tea still gives me my caffeine kick but without that that swift kick to the gut. And I feel less guilty (and wired) drinking it ALL. DAY. LONG. Swirl in a little milk and you will almost believe it’s coffee…
3. MUSIC. Instead of curling up on the couch in front of the TV, as one is want to do in 12 degree weather, turn on the ipod and dance your heart out. Not the swaying or tapping of the feet kind of dancing. I mean full on swirling and twirling and stomping and really rockin’ out kind of dancing. When the Peanut and I hit a wall, I pick him up and we get down. You can’t help but laugh when you willingly look like an idiot. And there is nothing like a little laughter to brighten the day (and since we rock out in front of multiple street-facing windows, I’m sure the neighbor’s get a good laugh too. It’s a win-win!)
4. GIVE YOURSELF HOPE. I try to schedule at least one warm weather vacation somewhere between February and the first week in March. Just the act of searching for that perfect destination and then finally hitting the “book it” button…it warms my soul and ignites a little fire in my heart. From that moment on, no matter how cold and miserable the weather, I can remind myself that a respite from it all is right around the corner. If you’re unable to swing a vacation, create one at home. Crank up the thermostat. Surround yourself with warmth. Pick up everything you will need for a weekend at home and then don’t leave the house again until Monday morning. Drink lots of margaritas. Wear that amazing maxi dress you found on sale at the end of last summer. Put a flower in your hair. A little creativity can give you a lot of HOPE.
5. DON’T HUNKER DOWN. I hunker down in the Winter; it is my go-to defense mechanism. I am loathe to leave the house because it requires way too much work and way too many layers. But I’ve really been trying to amend this and force myself out into that cold air because 1. fresh air is good for you, and 2. loneliness and isolation is not. So pile on the layers and go…somewhere. Take a walk. Run to the gym. Swing by a coffee shop and warm up with a cup o’ joe (or tea). Have lunch with a friend. Go to that happy hour. Whatever. Just get out there and DO. NOT. HUNKER. Remember: a body in motion stays in motion and motion keeps you warm!
6. LOOK AMAZING. Because I tend to hunker down in the winter, I also tend to soften up around the middle. To top it off, my skin hates the cold as much as I do so my glow goes into hibernation mode and I am left with a pasty, scaly, squishy mess (which makes going out into the world even less enticing). I hate to admit it, but when I feel bad about myself, I get lazy. Instead of putting on a fresh pair of clothes in the morning, I’ll throw on a pair of yoga pants and the sweatshirt I wore the day before and call it a day because really, what’s the point otherwise? It’s a vicious cycle and a hard one to break. But break it you (and I) must! With a little extra effort – like slathering on extra moisturizer and putting on a clean set of clothes – confidence can be had. In fact, why not just go all out? Instead of throwing on those yoga pants, slip on that tulle skirt and your sharpest pair of heels. Of course you can’t wear that old sweatshirt with such an amazing skirt so go ahead and wear that awesome tee with your leather jacket. And really, once you’re dressed to the nines you’ve got to have a face to match, so put on that cream foundation and your blushiest blush and give yourself a little mascara and gloss while you’re at it. And voila! You look amazing. And who would want to sit around the house looking like that? So get out there and show yourself off.
7. SMILE. I know, it’s cliché and oh-so-simple, but it works. Plaster on that smile and fake it ‘til you make it. Your emotions get all kinds of confused: I feel sad…but why am I smiling? Should I be happy? Maybe things aren’t so bad after all. Maybe I’m not sad. Maybe I am happy. Yes, that’s it. I am happy.
And there you have it folks.
Tell me, what tips and tricks do you have for fighting the winter blues? I would love to add more to my repertoire!