Do you ever suffer from the winter blahs? I know I certainly do. The excitement of the holiday season is over, and the bad weather seems relentless. The daylight hours aren’t yet visibly increasing, and everything is just ‘blah.’
In Regina where I grew up there is plenty of sunshine year round. Sure, we may get down to -40C or lower, but there’s still sun! Many people who move from sunny climates to less sunny ones may suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder SAD). Of course, we did have some dreary days, like the one in the photo above, but not too many.
I wouldn’t consider myself to outright suffer from SAD, but I did notice that the two Novembers I spent in Japan were incessantly rainy and the weather weighed me down. And over here in Northern Ireland, there are even more grey days over the course of a year.
Some days are really tough for me to get up and get going. When I worked full-time of course I had to pull myself up out of bed and go to work, but now that I’m home with the children it can really be tempting to sleep in and stay in my pjs all day and let the kids play as they wish. But of course I can’t do that EVERY day…so what do I do to combat this dull feeling?
1) We sleep in when we can. Many mammals hibernate over winter, so let’s join them. An occasional sleep in when you can get it is just fine. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you can stay up later. Rather, make sure that you’re getting enough sleep so that your body and mind can function at their best.
2) Along the same vein, have the occasional pajama day! Mix things up a little and have a backwards day – have dinner in the morning and a dinner of eggs and toast in the evening. Have fun with it! Or just relax and watch movies all day long.
3) If the weather isn’t fit for human nor beast, then refer to #2. Otherwise, bundle up and head out for a walk. Even a short walk outdoors can lift the spirits. If you’re like us and you like to have a ‘destination’ for your walk, why not write a letter or send a small package to someone special and take it to the post box. Not only will you feel better, but you’ll cheer up the person who receives some mail!
4) Bake some bread and make some homemade soup. Make the house smell delicious and inviting. There’s nothing like the smell of homemade meals. You’ll be sure to see smiles on your family members’ faces when they arrive home from work or school.
5) Bake some cookies and share them with the neighbours. With less excercise during the winter months, we certainly don’t need to eat it all ourselves. Why not share some with elderly neighbours who can’t get out on their own. Doing something for others will make you feel great.
7) Pamper yourself. Depending on your personal budget, (don’t spend money you don’t have, it will only make you feel worse in the long run) paint your nails at home, go to a salon and have a manicure, get a new hairstyle, or buy a new shade of lipstick.
8) Go out for a cup of coffee with friends. It’s been months since I’ve been able to do this, but just a sall change of scenery and getting out of the house can lift the spirits.
9) Go out on a date with your husband or someone special in your life. Phil and I only get out on our own about once a year to a quiz night with the Japan Society and we love it! Spending a little time together with other adults and meeting new people really helps put us in a good mood.
10) Make plans for the future. Perhaps a family vacation, or maybe an upcoming birthday party. Thinking ahead will help take your mind off the current dreary weather and resulting state of mind.
These are a few of the ways I try to survive the winter blahs, and with the 7th winter storm of the year here, it could be a very long winter here. I have a plan, and I’m okay if every day doesn’t go according to the plan if it keeps us sane. The kids have new winter boots, and we’re ready to take on the year with gusto.
How do you survive the winter blues? What helps you get through them? Please share your tips and suggestions with me as I’d love to add more ideas to my arsenal for when I start to feel burdened down.