March // 10 Ways to Escape the Winter Blues
Today is officially the first day of spring. For so much of this winter, it hasn’t really felt like winter. Sure it’s been cold, but it also hasn’t been that cold. We’ve had ridiculously beautiful days that felt more like brisk fall than they would have like winter. Until the last couple weeks when the season itself seems to have noticed that there were two weeks or so left before it was finally officially gone, and so it has been cold and super windy, and even occasionally snowy – something we hadn’t seen at all this winter until this point. So perhaps I waited a little too long to get my post written. But the seasons will cycle once again next year, and it’s possible you’ll find yourself buried inside under a mountain of snow wondering how to stay sane. And you can remember that I wrote a list, along with all the others doing Reverb, and maybe it will help.
- Literally escaping – travel is great if you can do it. If you can get someplace warmer, or at the very least sunny and not as cold, it will change your whole attitude. Two years ago the Boy and I went to Austin, which was FANTASTIC. Last year we went to Savannah and Charleston, which were also terrific, but maybe not quite as warm as I had pictured in my head. No matter – they were still warmer than home, and it wasn’t home.
- Baking. Using your oven is a great way to heat up your home. Plus, when you’re done with the oven, theoretically you have tasty treats. Cookies are usually the best bet, and can be as simple as getting the place-and-bake ones from the store. No one will cake that they aren’t 100% homemade. Fresh baked goods and a cozy kitchen will brighten anyone’s day.
- Taking up a productive hobby. By this I mean one that “produces” a thing at the end. Maybe this ties into number 2 and you start baking. Even better are those that sometimes require you to sit underneath a cozy blanket while you’re doing it – knitting, crochet, quilting. My friend H has been making giant cozy blankets the past few years, and as the season goes on, the blanket gets bigger and she’s forced to snuggle down under it. Darn.
- Wearing bright colors. It’s hard to feel bad when you’re wearing a lime green cardigan.
- Falling into a tv-binge project. The Boy and I started watching The White Queen last summer when we were in London. We didn’t really restart it (or put together our super dorky paper list of television shows we mean to watch together) until the weather got cold. Finding something to lose your brain to for an hour at a time or a few hours at a stretch is exhilarating.
- Read a new kind of book. Maybe you tend to read romance novels. Or self-help books. Or science fiction. Try something new – maybe a popular history. A travel book. Short stories. Poems. It’s nice to get out of our ruts and find a new genre that’s fun to expand our minds.
- Hot beverages make everything better. I got a new stovetop kettle (although I really wish I could have a proper electric kettle), which makes boiling water for tea that much more pleasant. The Boy has his coffee that he loves. And the girls received packages of hot cocoa in fun flavors in their Christmas stockings. It’s really hard to feel bad about things in the moment that you’ve got your nose hanging over a steamy beverage.
- Take care of yourself. Don’t let the sniffles linger if it’s actually a full-blown cold. Go to the doctor. Take long baths using your nice soaps and bath salts. Paint your fingernails and toenails. Do a cheapy-drug-store face mask. Take your medications. Meditate. Exercise. Remind yourself that you are worth taking care of, and then do it. Dress nicely, put on makeup and jewelry if it makes you feel attractive. Even if you’re not seeing people on a regular basis, it makes a person feel confident when they dress nicely. And speaking of seeing people…
- Reach out to a friend. Too often during the winter, our lives and schedules become insular – I do it too. I go to work. I go to the grocery store after work. I go home, I have the girls with me, and we make lunches for the next day and dinner for that night. They get ready for bed. The Boy comes home, he reads to them and then puts them in bed while I finish up dinner for us. We watch a show. He plays a computer game, and maybe I do too. I make my lunch for the next day, and then we go to bed. It’s a routine and it feels like the same thing day after day. It’s nice to break out of that rut every once in a while and go out and see someone, or just call and talk to a friend you haven’t seen in a while.
- Plan for spring. Late this winter, H had to do a science project for school and so she decided to test which liquid would sprout beans the fastest/highest. It turns out that orange juice – even the “no pulp kind” – leaves a thick residue on the top of soil. And when you’re sprouting inside because the outside is cold, it will stink up whatever room it’s in. In our case, the guest room. We aired the room out, and tried a different method for sprouting (radish seeds this time) that involved a paper towel and a sandwich baggie that worked MUCH better. We got 12 little radishes that began to germinate and that was the end of H’s experiment (FYI – regular water is better than OJ or lemonade). But the Boy and I went out and bought a little planter and planted those 12 little radishes, and this weekend we noticed that we had 5 (FIVE!) little sprouts coming out of the soil! We’re looking forward to creating a small garden in an area next to our house that has been sad looking for a long time.
And that’s it. It’s also important to remember that no matter how long it feels like winter is dragging on, at some point it WILL be spring again.
Details: This post is part of Project Reverb 2017, which sends out monthly (and sometimes daily during a month-long challenge in December) writing prompts for bloggers. If you’re interested in participating, sign up here.