Thursday, January 8, 2015

10 Ideas to Beat the Winter Blahs

Most everyone suffers from some form of the "winter blahs."

From feeling like going into full hibernation, to having a decrease in energy, the winter blahs are very real.

As someone who thrives during the sunny, summer months, I dread winter. I love to be outdoors and I am not a fan of the cold.

The holidays are fun, and the fluffy snow stuff is pretty. But, once the holidays are over, I am ready for spring.

So, this blog post is dedicated to helping beat the winter blahs. Here are ten ideas for surviving winter and making the best of it.

1. Savor the Simple "Winter" Things

Yes, winter sucks. But, there are some things that are kind of nice about it. Try to focus on enjoying some of the things you like about it. Comfy pajamas, hot tea/coffee, snuggling up with a book or movie, skiing and sledding, not having to be so worried about pedicures or shaving your legs everyday... One of my favorite "winter" things is sitting outside in a hot tub when it's cold out.

2. Something to Look Forward to

One of the best ways to help beat the winter blahs is to have something to look forward to. Plan a vacation or a party. Whatever it might be, it's a pick me up to anticipate the good things coming. We often take vacation in the spring. Fantasizing about lying on the beach helps winter not suck so much.

3. Light Therapy

One of the main reasons for the winter blahs is lack of sunlight. Light therapy is said to help seasonal depression and increase energy. I recently ordered a "Happy Light" which is a desk light that emits a brighter light. Get as much light as you can. Even driving or sitting by the window when the sun is shining is a mood booster.

4. Get Some Fresh Air

Get outside and get some fresh air when you can. Even if it is just for a few minutes. I try to find whatever excuses I can to go outside, even just to check the mail and take the garbage out. On the not so cold days of winter, take your pets for a walk or take advantage of the mild temperatures.

5. Force Yourself to Get Out of the House and Socialize

Force yourself to get out of the house and socialize, even if you don't feel like it. Plan to go for coffee or a drink with a friend. Go to a movie. Attend a networking group activity. Once you get out, you'll feel better.

6. Take a Class or Practice a Hobby

The winter is a great time to take a class or work on a hobby or other projects. Take up pottery or painting. Always wanted to learn how to knit? Bake? Learn a new language? Spend time working on it during the slower winter months. You'll make your way into the warmer months with a new skill.

7. Break Out of a Rut

Brighten up your day by switching it up. Wear bright lipstick or bright clothes. Paint an accent wall in your living room. Try a new food or restaurant. Find some fun amid the dreary days of winter.

8. Focus On Your Goal-Setting

The winter months are a great time to evaluate your goals and do planning for your personal development. Take the time to examine yourself and work towards a better you.

9. Organize Your Space

Get ahead of the "spring cleaning" and organize your space during the winter months. Take on a project, or take on several. Organize your basement. Who wants to be down in your basement on a warm, sunny day? Organize your file cabinet or kitchen drawers. Clean out your closets. One of my favorite "feel good" activities is purging my closet. Once you get rid of a bunch of stuff, it will feel really good.

10. Hibernate

I often suffer from "I feel like I have to be productive all the time and can't relax" syndrome. Allow yourself to take it easy. Read a book or watch a movie. Don't beat yourself up feeling guilty for not doing enough. Winter is meant for a little bit of hibernation.

Happy Winter!

Monday, January 5, 2015

"If Winter Comes, Can Spring Be Far Behind?"

January has arrived. For much of the country, the brutal cold has as well. It feels like winter is officially here.

The holidays have passed and we have entered the coldest months of the year.

Temperatures plunging below zero and blowing snow are parts of winter that the majority of us share a blatant hatred for. 

Here in the Midwest, winter can be brutal.

As I write this post, the snow is starting to pile up outside and temperatures are forecasted to remain below zero throughout the majority of the week.

It is times like these that I think about a certain quotation, "If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome." - Anne Bradstreet

Winter is what makes summer so great. All of those days lying in the backyard on the hammock... bare toes touching the fresh, green grass... the sun on your skin.

But, here we are today in the middle of winter. Little or no sunshine... stuck inside the house... dry, itchy skin...

It is a good time to remind yourself that before you know it, winter will come to an end.

Adversity in all parts of our lives is much like winter. Though hard times are unpleasant, they are opportunities for growth that enable us to truly appreciate and recognize the blessings in our lives.

At the time, it is often difficult and almost impossible to see the positive to an undesirable situation. But, it's the hard and bad times that helps make the good times that much better.

An example is within relationships. You may not truly appreciate a healthy and positive relationship if you have never experienced an unhealthy and negative one.

Or, with your job. You may recognize that you are blessed with a great team or great benefits after previously being in a situation with a bad environment working for little pay.

I like to think of summer as our reward for enduring the winter.

It's much like the feeling after working hard all day and then getting to finally take your shoes off. Or, the feeling after putting in a full week of workouts and finding that you have come closer to your goal weight.

How great will it feel when the first spring-like day arrives? When the snow thaws and the smell of spring permeates in the air? When the birds start chirping and in their songs is a little bit of hope?

Soon, we'll be basking in the sunshine again... driving with the windows down... sipping drinks on the porch.

Until then, I'll end with another quote, "No winter lasts forever; no spring skips it's turn."- Hal Borland.