Winter and springtime in Northeast Ohio can be a dark and dreary place. Sure, right now there is snow on the ground and the sun is out, but there are many more days ahead where it will just be gray skies and muddy ground for days on end. It can get pretty depressing.
I’m not a psychologist, nor do know much about Seasonal Affective Disorder, but I do have first experience with the winter blues (or winter blahs, depending on the day).
You know what I’m talking about. Those days where it’s not just gray and dreary outside, but you feel it in your brain. You feel the funk.
I’ve found a few tried and true ways to combat the winter blues and thought I’d share them with you today. Feel free to leave any of your suggestions in the comment section for you quick and natural pick me ups.
Notes: As a SAHM, many of these are geared for those of you at home, but several are applicable wherever you happen be when you come down with a case of the winter blues.
Grab a bucket of soapy water.
Alright, I’ll admit that this is a strange one, but go with me on it. Whenever I feel like I can’t quite shake the funky mood I’m in, nothing snaps me out of it like going crazy on a room in my house with a bucket of soapy water and a cleaning rag. I’m talking an all out purging, deep clean. I did this yesterday to my kitchen. I spent and hour on my refrigerator and oven alone. It was deeply satisfying. I’m talking the “all is right with the world” kind of satisfaction.
Put on some great, up beat music.
I know that people always say to do this, but that is because it works. Feeling blue? Maybe The National or Bon Iver aren’t the best route for you today. Try instead:
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Walk the Moon
Foster the People
Get a happy light.
This light. Let me tell you. It has changed my life. According to the maker of the light I own, Verilux, “The HappyLight provides Natural Spectrum® light comparable to daylight, scientifically shown to combat the tiredness and malaise associated with the winter blues and the effects of shift work or jet lag.”
I use my happy light in the mornings to help wake me up, perk me up and get me going. After 10-15 minutes with my light on, I feel energized and have more mental clarity. I won’t say that it makes me happy per se, but it’s one step in the right direction! (My light works so well to energize me that I can’t use it in the late afternoon-evening, as it will wire me too much and make falling asleep difficult. It is a morning use kind of product.)
I keep my happy light on my dressing table to use while I’m getting ready in my bedroom. Before I had the dressing table, though, I simply had my light sitting next to my sink in our bathroom.
Get out of the house.
This tip works like a charm every time. Sometimes I get out of the house by myself and meet up with friends for coffee. Other times, I get out with my boys and we head somewhere to get a snack and cup of coffee. Even if all I do is go through Starbucks’ drive through, the very act of getting out of my house and changing my scenery does wonders for my mental state. I used to do this when I was stuck in an office all day too.
Me and my buddy at Starbucks.
This tip is a tough one because the last thing we usually want to do when we feel blue is workout, but that is usually exactly what we need! Even if it’s only 15 minutes, put those sweat pants you are wearing to good use and get your body moving. Use the Google to find a workout video on Youtube that works for you, and get after it! You’ll be glad you did.
Put on a great outfit:
Changing your clothes can do alot for changing your mood. Again, this may not be something you want to do (Showering seems like such a drag on good days, let along when we feel blah!), but showering, putting on makeup and a nice outfit can do a lot to boost your overall spirits. Or at least you’ll look better!
Eat a healthy snack (or lunch, or dinner).
We all do it. We eat crap when we feel like crap, which continues our crappy state. Break the cycle! Eat something delicious and nutritious and as you soothe the body with the good food vibes you will find your mind being soothed as well.
Do something fun. Something wild. Something unexpected.
Charlotte Bronte fameously said that she felt monotony and death were one in the same. Break up the same ol, same ol by doing something, anything different. Add a dash of fun and excitement to your day. Allow your winter blues to turn into a motivating force that will take you from wallowing, to exploring. From bumming to becoming. From feeling blah to feeling excited.
Become inspired to do pull yourself out of the pit by creating an opportunity to do something new.
This past spring, Theo and I dyed our hair with wash-out color. He chose blue, I dyed the ends of my hair pink. We had been having a rough day together so I finally called a truce and we packed up the car and headed to the Dollar Store in town to find some cheap distraction. We came across the hair dye and I knew it was exactly the kind of fun, silly activity that we needed to break us out of our funk. Sometimes, you just have to tell life to stop being so ridiculously serious and just give yourself permission to have fun. Have fun guys!