I want to be somewhere tropical right now. Somewhere that the white sand is almost too hot to stand on barefoot. Almost too hot, but not quite. Somewhere that a colorful beach towel is perfect for taking a nap in the bright warmth of the sunlight. Somewhere that I can take a couple of steps and end up in the cool, bright blue, salty water, looking for turtles and fishies through a snorkel mask. Somewhere that a line of tall palm trees casts the perfect amount of shade and breeze.
I want to be somewhere that my only care is that my piña colada is going to melt too fast. Or that the sun is going to set too soon. Or that a coconut just might fall on my head. Or that my skin might maybe get a little too red.
Instead, I’m sitting in my tiny apartment. In the middle of suburban America. In the middle of a snowstorm. Where the space heater humming at my side isn’t quite warm enough and the sun has already set and there’s no hope of wearing a swimsuit any time soon. And my cares instead include worrying about what to cook for dinner this week, and when I’m going to finish all the piles and piles and piles of laundry or go grocery shopping, and wondering what bills will make their way to my mailbox tomorrow.
Instead of a piña colada and a suntan, I’ve got the Winter Blues*. In years past, I have cured my Winter Blues with some really fattening foods, as many chick flicks as I can handle, and a healthy dose of a patience, just waiting for longer, warmer days to find me again.
But this year, mostly for the sake of the blog and having something to talk about, I’ve decided to put together a list of 10 things, besides chick flicks and binge eating candy and cupcakes, that can help me through my Winter Blues. And luckily, if you’re reading this, I’m gonna let you use these ideas too. Gosh, we’re nice, huh.
1) Keep Up on Your Resolutions — Odds are you had some resolutions you made a couple weeks ago when the New Year rolled around. And what better way to keep up on those resolutions than by trying to defeat your Winter Blues? Exercise more. Eat healthier. Work out a budget/get out of debt. Write letters (actual snail mail letters, people) to loved ones. Whatever your resolution may be, winter is a great time to try to achieve them, especially if you’re trying to defeat the Winter Blues. Instead of using winter and the cold and the shorter days as an excuse to get you out of your resolutions, use winter as a reason to actually accomplish those things. Find ways to motivate yourself. It will be worth it, I promise you.
2) Start a Recipe Group or Book Club — Get some friends from the neighbor or from church or from your kids’ schools and plan a time once a month or once every two weeks (whatever fits everyone’s schedules) and get together. Share recipes or read books together. It’s a great opportunity to get out of the house, socialize, meet new people.
3) Be IN Winter — Go out in winter. Don’t let winter keep you inside. Find an activity you enjoy despite the cold outside. Go snowboarding or skiing and snowshoeing. Go sledding or snowmobiling. Go ice-skating or find some ice castles. Go to the zoo. Just make sure to bundle up reaalllyyyyy well.
4) Learn a New Hobby — If you’re too afraid of #3 (understandable if you’re anything like me… I despise being cold more than anything), then stay in your house and learn a new hobby. Learn to sew or cook or bake or scrapbook. Take a class online to help you learn photography or web design or graphic design. Learn how to draw or write calligraphy. Pretty much anything. If there’s something you’ve been wanting to do but just haven’t found the time, why not start now, while you’re sitting in your house feeling sorry that it’s just so darned cold outside.
5) “Spring” Cleaning — Why not get a head start on cleaning your entire house? That way, once spring does actually decide to roll around, your house will be spic and span and you’ll be ready to go outdoors and enjoy the fresh, warm weather!
6) Binge Watch a Show — This is one of my favorite things to do, I admit. It’s bad. I really should do something more productive with my life, but when it’s cold outside and I just wanna curl up under a blanket, Netflix becomes my best friend. Sign up for Netflix or Hulu or even buy a season of that show you’ve heard is soooo good, but you just never had time to watch it.
7) Write in a Journal — I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. Write about whatever you’d like. Things you’ve done. Goals you have. Ideas you’d like to share one day. About how much winter sucks.
8) Create a Photo Book — Websites like Shutterfly, Mixbook, or Snapfish are great tools to help you organize your photos into cute, personalized books. Make a book of your last family vacation, or what you did last summer, or what you did over Christmas break. I guarantee looking through all those pictures will chase those winter blues right away.
9) Serve! — Volunteer at shelters or food kitchens or nursing homes or even your kid’s school. Go by yourself or with friends or with kids. Seek out people who may need your help. I know from experience that the best way to keep you from thinking about yourself is to help someone else in need.
10) Plan a Trip — If all else fails, and you happen to have some money you’ve set aside for a rainy day (or in this case, a snowy day?), go on a trip. Take a staycation for a weekend somewhere close. Take an extended weekend somewhere slightly further away. Take a weeklong trip somewhere you’ve been dying to go. Go somewhere warmer than where you are if that’s what your heart desires. Or go to the mountains somewhere and lock yourself up in a cabin and do any of the ideas above.
Let us know what your favorite things to do to cure your Winter Blues are. And if none of the 10 ideas work for you, just appreciate how beautiful winter can be. My husband took this picture with his iPhone after a snowstorm earlier this month. Whoooaaa. Good job, Kent!
*Winter Blues in its most severe form is sometimes referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s a real thing. This post is not meant to belittle or demean that condition or anyone who suffers from it. We are not doctors, and our advice/opinions are not meant to imply that we are. We merely want to share our very unqualified opinion about some things that help us brighten up our own dark winter months.