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When the snow fell this weekend on Bend, I was giddy (as was Norman – see above). Having not seen much of it this winter, I was quick to get outside and in my own way, dance it (we walked . . . a lot). While the winter months can bring about far more serious shifts in some people’s mood such as SAD (seasonal affective disorder) which innumerable websites have addressed, what I wanted to do in today’s post was rather than addressing the blues, address the “blahs”.
How are the “blahs” different? The feeling isn’t depressed, but rather a “ho-hum, when is spring coming?” kind of feeling. The truth is (and the good news is) the winter months offer an amazing opportunity to seize and capitalize upon so that the spring, summer and fall months can be even better than you may have anticipated.
Have a look below at the nine ways to lift the winter blahs and embrace the yearly gift that comes with this quiet and restful time of year.
1. Use the time to reboot
What I enjoy most about January and February and part of March is the opportunity to reassess how life is unfolding, what aspects are working and which are not, and then having the time to sit down and devise the plan to change for the better what will best help me reach my goals or simply live each day more fully and with more contentment.
This winter I have been devoting nearly every weekend to finishing the edits on my second book; I also took the time to reorganize my kitchen cupboards as well really get into the guts of how to run a business. Needless to say there was a lot for me to learn and do, and I am thankful I had the time and window that winter provides to do it.
2. Plan a spring or summer getaway
No matter how much I am loving the preparation and planning I am doing behind the scenes for projects that will come into fruition later in the year, I do dream of longer and warmer days. Looking forward to plans I have made for the spring and summer months gives me something to dream about, plan for and also give me reason to relax.
Relaxation is easier as I know there is a time to work and plan, and there is a time to have fun and escape and each will come and each will pass. Needless to say, it is a reminder to savor what each season of year the gives us.
3. Add more light to your morning
One thing I adore about late spring and summer is how the daylight wakes me up, and as such, having to wake up in the dark during the winter months is certainly more difficult. After watching the fourth episode of Queer Eye over the weekend, I was reminded of an option for enabling light to wake us up in the morning without the need for an alarm clock. A dawn or sunrise simulator is something to consider adding to your bedroom such as the best overall rated Philips Wake-Up Light. There are many options available to shop, but perhaps being gently woken up instead of jarred awake would shift the tone of the morning ever so slightly and improve the quality of your winter days.
4. Feed your brain well
The warmer months gives us a bit (or a lot) of a scapegoat as we can get away with eating less healthy, but have the long days to lift our mood when the food isn’t helping us out. However, in winter, the sun limits its visitation hours, so we are either left to our own devices to eat well or suffer the consequences. Needless to say, eating well year round — a balanced approach with lean protein, low-starch vegetables, limited amounts of sugar and instead more natural mood lifters such as dark chocolate — will not only help lift our mood, but elevate the quality of our health. Choose foods rich in antioxidants such as many fruits, nuts and well, check out the list of the 20 common foods with antioxidants to amp up your diet, and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate to flush the body of toxins and keep your skin glowing even through this often drier time of year.
5. Embrace the Hygge approach
Last March in episode #148 I shared 15 ways to welcome the Hygge approach to savoring the winter season. Be sure to check out these cozy, simple and luxurious ideas for lifting the everyday.
6. Welcome candlelight
Since the nights are longer and the evenings begin far earlier, welcome more candles into your home. While this is part of the Hygge approach, I wanted to single this idea out in the list because it is something I find myself doing far more during the winter months and thoroughly appreciating the effect. Whether I am taking a bath or sitting on the sofa reading a book in the evening, I have one or many (in the bathroom) to set a welcoming, warm mood.
7. Invest in a stylish, cozy set of pajamas
As evening begins and dusk has come and gone, thinking about slipping into bed is a sweet daily ritual especially if you not only have a cozy bed, but cozy clothing to wear. With temperatures dipping below freezing regularly in the high dessert here in Bend, I have a couple of pajama sets I wear and enjoy lounging about the house in about an hour before I go to bed. One pair of pajamas I bought seven or eight years ago that lasted about five years was an investment from the Italian clothing and bedding company Frette. While the style I had is no longer available, they have come out with a new (albeit a bit more expensive) set that is stunning if you are in the market for a quality pair of cotton pajamas in white. For about half the price, La Ligne’s cotton Bonne Nuit white pajamas are a worthwhile set to check out as well.
8. Prepare a soirée for the Oscars
Each year the Academy Awards holds their event during the final weeks of winter. This year on Sunday March 4th I will be snuggling in to enjoy. While sometimes I enjoy it with friends, I also enjoy it on my own, but either way, it is a fun evening full of films to add to my list, gowns and speeches to remember and an evening to appreciate art and its power.
9. Go outside each day and play or walk or watch your dogs have a ball
Last but not least, as the image above demonstrates, I love going outside and letting my dogs play in the snow. Sometimes we go skiing, other times we go walking, but no matter what, we enjoy ourselves (and then we come back inside and get warm and eat well). Truly though, getting outside as often as possible to soak in the vitamin D is an antidote to boost your mood and health as well as be part of your exercise routine. And the best part is I cannot stop by being a kid again and just delighting in the falling snow when caught in its dustings.
However, you enjoy this unique time of year wherever you call home, savor it, revel in it, because it will be over soon. As much as I am excited for spring to arrive and the birds to begin migrating back to the area to wake me with the sunrise, I also want to make sure I have done all that I can to create an environment for a roaringly fun, yet productive next season.
May the next four weeks until spring arrives be more magnificent than you may have thought they could be.
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Image: TSLL’s IG – Norman in the snow