The Life of Bon: 15 Cures for the Winter Blues

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

15 Cures for the Winter Blues

Today I was in the best mood.  This is significant because I have been in a serious and deep winter funk the past three weeks.  I began to wonder if I would ever crawl out of the abyss known as January.

But I did!  I crawled out.  It wasn't easy, but I like to think my winter blues are gone for good.  If you're not out of your winter blues yet, don't worry, I can help you.  Here's what helped me.

Invite someone to do something with you.  I think our natural instinct is to wait for someone else to plan the party.  Call a friend to go on a walk or out to dinner or to meet you for a movie.  People love to be invited as it makes us feel loved and accepted, but we don't always make the effort to invite someone else.  I always try to have a little upcoming outing to look forward to and I try not to wait around for someone to invite me.

Work on a project.  You know, that thing you keep meaning to do.  For me it was finally buying nightstands for both sides of our bed, putting them together IKEA style, and painting them to match the room.  I also am almost finished with June's nursery. Just waiting for an ottoman to come in the mail and then I'm finally finished!  I will also then show you adorable pictures.

Vacuum.  Lines on the carpet just make you feel like you own the world, you know?

Create something.  Write a blog post.  Paint a picture.  Choreograph a dance.  Refinish a desk.  Film a movie scene.  Creating something is awesome because there is a physical product when you're done.  Having evidence of where your time went always helps you to feel on top of the world.

Do a service for someone. Make cookies for a neighbor.  Take down your mom's Christmas lights.  Buy flowers for a friend.  The giving feels even better than the receiving which I know is just wild, but it's true!

Put fresh flowers in your home.  Last week Greg's students bought him flowers and they have been sitting on the side table in our living room ever since.  It's amazing how the fresh blooms make the house feel alive and energized.

Change the smell in your home.  Don't underestimate the power of smell to your mood!  Today I started burning some of my scentsy spring scents and it made everything feel clean and revitalized in my house.  (Oh, and everything scentsy is 10%  off this month to make way for new spring/summer items. Even warmers!  Now is the time to stock up.  Just make sure to click the "February party" when it asks you what party you are with.)

Go outside.  It's all about that vitamin D!  Try to spend at least 20 minutes outside every day.  I know some of you are dealing with a never ending snowstorm and 3 degree weather right now, so, you know... do what you can.

Exercise.  Exercising boosts your feel good hormones.  Like the point above, I aim for 20 minutes a day.  I usually try to knock out going outside and exercising in one fell swoop by taking the dog for a walk.  It is amazing how much better I feel after a walk with my pup.

Write thank you notes.  Expressing appreciation is a sure fire way to boost your own mood.  Today I sat down and wrote about ten overdue thank you notes and it just felt so good to acknowledge the people who bring happiness into my life.  I do this anytime I am feeling overwhelmed, lonely or frustrated.  It doesn't take long to realize how kick butt your life is.

Get off Netflix.  Netflix is like a dementor.  It will suck your soul when you least expect it.

Plan a trip. Every January I email my college roomies and tell them I must see them asap.  We plan a trip for the spring to all get together.  This year we aren't getting together until June, but just the fact that I have that to look forward to- something exciting in my near future- keeps me pushing through January and into February.  (Interestingly enough I read one study that states that even if you don't take the trip, the planning of the trip itself will help to boost your mood.)

Call a friend.  Or facetime.  Facetiming my sister in Germany always boosts my mood times one hundred.

Limit time on social media.  Social media is a time sucker and an energy sucker.  Thirty minutes later and I'm still scrolling down on my phone with nothing to show for my time and no energy or motivation whatsoever.  I'm not saying to quit social media, just ease up on it.  Do you think you could check facebook, twitter, and instagram just once in a day?  CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

Read a book.  I am trying so hard this year to spend my down minutes in the day reading instead of scrolling social media.  My favorite is to get in the bathtub with a diet coke and a book.  That is winter blues chasing magic right there.  (If you're looking for book suggestions, check out Bon's book club for 2015).

There you have it, all the winter blues cures I know.  Of course I would love to hear any secrets that you have to getting through this miserable time of year.

May we all live to see spring!

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