My best friend always laughs at the similarities between her husband and yours truly. Most people get a “blah” sort of feeling when the sun isn’t around… but she says she watches some people (raises hand) just seem to droop on dreary days.
She calls us “solar-powered people” and I just love that description.
SO for those of us who are more solar-powered than others, here are the next ten tips in this quick series on battling the Winter Blues.
11. Plan a trip. Maybe you don’t have the time or budget for a big sunny cruise down south, but taking some time on a dreary day to plan a vacation (big or small) gives you a huge mood boost. Some people say that PLANNING a vacay can actually bring just as much if not MORE satisfaction and good vibes than the trip itself. I don’t know about that, but hey, I’ll buy into just about anything at this point 😉 It’s a super good idea to break up your routine… especially at the end of Winter when you’re just about ready to lose your mind. So do it… plan to go somewhere, even if it’s just for a weekend and even if it’s not that far from home. Still worth it!
12. Turn off every single electronic device that calls relentlessly for your attention and read a novel for an hour. This is obviously not going to improve your mood if you aren’t a book worm like me, but if you are, it’s really important to take time to read. I can always tell when I’ve gone too long without giving myself a reading break… I start jonesing for a second to just sit down and focus on one thing. And the chance to escape to a different world for a little while. If you’re looking for something new, here’s my post on some favorite “dark chocolate” books to chew on.
13. Get out of your house and spend actual real life time with humans. The absolute worst winter I remember in Germany was when we were down to one car and I used that as an excuse to stay stranded at home a lot. I ended up allowing myself to be home alone a lot with two little girls and a whole lot of pent up seasonal depression issues. Do yourself a favor and connect with people, face to face, on a regular basis through the winter. Facebook is great but it doesn’t count.
14. Make sure you have something awesome to be a part of. Along the same lines as #13, it really helps to be a part of something that energizes you. I just had my first meeting with a group of bada$$ likeminded ladies who are hoping to plan an empowering women’s conference for the Southern Tier. The energy and excitement I got from all those great ideas and possibilities was something I could feel in my body for days. I’m also co-founding an organization that’s going to start planting street trees in the city of Corning soon. It’s so exciting and fun! Reach out to your people and see who’s getting involved in something cool! Then join in!
15. Do something nice for someone else. Order your friend flowers. Drop off a surprise meal to someone. Do a chore that isn’t usually your job. Wash a car, pick up someone’s favorite snack at the grocery store, send someone a “just because” gift card to a coffee shop. I know you don’t feel like you have a lot to give right now, but you do. Dig deep and share. It feels good and you know it.
16. Paint your nails a ridiculously bright color. Muted colors might be “in” in the winter, but what you might really need to see every time you look at your fingers is highlighter pink or sunshine yellow. Just saying 😉
17. Make a print of a photo that you think is beautiful (even from your phone!) to frame and hang where you’ll see it often. There’s a lot of power in the visual reminder of beauty, especially in dreary winter months. If you need to find some fine art prints, email me! I will for sure be able to find you just the right thing in my archives. I read once that just looking at large images that contained a lot of green and yellow improved test subject’s mood.
18. Sit by a fire. We don’t have a fireplace, but I have parents and a best friend in the area who do. I like to invite myself over to warm my toes and drink tea and enjoy great conversation. It’s like sitting next to a cozy warm sunshine! Plus it smells awesome and makes me think of summer – bonfires and bbqs and camping. YAY!
19. Splurge on an obnoxiously expensive, amazing smelling candle. The cozy scent of your favorite candle is just plain soothing. Winter is the only time I really burn candles so I consider it a special treat and worth the splurge! Smelling warms spices helps me feel less resentful that it’s still too cold to open the windows for some fresh air.
20. Set your timer for 20 minutes and race yourself to work on something you’ve been procrastinating on. Just DO SOMETHING! Endless procrastination makes everyone feel so yucky, but lack of motivation is unfortunately another issue we deal with in the winter! So attacking my kitchen mess with violent abandon really lifts my spirits. Rushing around the house to pick things up gets the blood flowing in my veins and makes me happy once I can see my living room floor again. I always feel super virtuous after spending 20 minutes crushing a lame task (I’m looking at you tax spreadsheet) and then I can more easily justify curling up again with that novel 😉
Did you miss the first ten tips? Find them here.
Tune in early next week for the last ten tips for battling seasonal depression!
Thank you so much for all the comments and sharing! I love hearing that I’m not the only one who goes through this. Please keep letting me know what you think… I’m learning from you, too!
And when you comment below with more ideas, it really helps everyone else, too! So thanks!