I don’t know about the weather where you live, but here in the mid-south, we have had a lot of rainy gray days….like looking for Noah and the ark kind of rainy gray days. And when you string a week of these rainy gray days together, it becomes hard to maintain a positive outlook on said rainy gray days. Did I mention it had been really rainy? And very gray??? Not the pretty soft dove gray. No, this is that cold industrial steel kind of gray. Do you get the picture??? I mean, if April showers bring May flowers, what do February deluges bring? I will tell you what they bring, they bring depression and feelings of malaise. They bring about February Funk. Maybe these feelings are made worse with post-holiday letdown, I don’t really know. All I know is the feelings are very real but very also very treatable. You know my love of lists, so it should come as no surprise that my ideas of combatting February Funk will be presented in list form. Here is my How to Beat the February Funk:
- Stay Active-Pulling yourself out of bed on cold dark mornings is hard, but maintaining your momentum and focus will help to get you through the dark days. You don’t have to go to a gym to stay active, however, even a 5-minute stretching routine will get your blood pumping. Exercise releases endorphins, which trigger positive feelings in the body, so get moving!
- Lighten Up-During the winter months, the hours of sunlight decrease, so we need to combat it with lighting up our surroundings. Turn on cozy table lamps and bask in the light. If you have a fireplace, use the winter months to hone your fire-making skills. A bright fire will add both warmth and light to your home during cold and dreary nights, and many times will provide just the right atmosphere for a hearth-side gathering.
- Start a New Hobby or Project-Winter is the perfect time for indoor projects and interests. With no yard or garden work to do, turn your creative eye to the ongoing to-do list for your home. Freshen up the walls with a coat of paint, maybe a brighter color. Or maybe it is the right time to learn how to refinish that piece of furniture you picked up for next to nothing last summer at the thrift store. Not only will you have the satisfaction of learning a new skill, but you will have the gratification that comes with checking something off your to-do list.
- Treat Yourself-Now this isn’t a suggestion that you go on an expensive shopping trip to New York and buy all the latest designer clothing and handbags. Or going on exotic trips to warmer climates. Treating yourself can be something as simple as picking up a bouquet of flowers from the grocery store. If you have a little extra in your budget, a manicure, pedicure, or perhaps a massage would be just the thing to add a little sunshine to your gray days. Or maybe a trip to your favorite coffee shop or bookstore is in order. Just a little something to remind you that spring will be here soon!
- Try a Little Hygge-What is hygge you ask….it is the Danish word that means a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment. It’s all about making your home feel cozy and welcoming during the cold, grey days of winter. Maybe that means adding a cozy throw on a couch to wrap up in while you binge NetFlix. Maybe it means getting mocha scented candles to light or having comforting soups and stews simmering on the stove or cooking in your crockpot. Or maybe you splurge on some new loungewear or fuzzy socks. The point is that instead of thinking of being “stuck” at home as a winter punishment, begin to look at your home as your own warm and comfy place to retreat from the worries of the world. It’s all a matter of perspective!
- Make Time for Fun and Fellowship-I don’t know about you, but when it is cold and dreary and dark, the last thing I want to do is go back out once I get home. But spending time with friends and family is a very important part of battling the winter blues. Sharing laughter over a meal makes even the coldest night seem a bit warmer. And if going out is not your thing, invite people to your home. If you enjoy cooking, then whip up a fancy meal, or, if you are like me and don’t like cooking have everyone bring their favorite dish or the leftovers in their fridge(as long as they are still recognizable!). Or get a pizza delivered, the point of the night isn’t the food, it’s taking time to connect and share with others.
Learning to be content in all seasons of life is a valuable life skill that, once mastered, will serve you well. There is something beautiful and worth celebrating every day. Sometimes you just have to look a little harder to find it. And if all else fails, remember, Spring is only 29 days away!