It's here. It's that time of year when spring fever has hit, and everyone is ready for the winter to be over.
Everyone that is, except Mother Nature, and maybe the gas and oil companies, and the ski lodges who make the bulk of their living from the cold temps.
And while Mother Nature bids all of us to just hold our horses so that the trees can finish their rest before working hard to clean the air with their leaves, and just as the bulbs start their process of poking through the ground, it's easy to have a good case of “the blahs.”
(Sidenote: “The Blahs” are not to be confused with “The Crud” which makes you physically sick, but they are one and the same as “The Funk” which just makes you feel like hibernating under your covers as long as you can, while craving every carbohydrate ever known to mankind.)
So today, I am going to pump you full of ways to get through the Blahs and the Funk.
12 Ways to Get Through Winter When You're Sick of It
1. Get outside.
Bundle up if you have to! On the coldest days, I wear two layers of pants. I feel in love with silky leggings made just for winter layering this past year. They are lightweight and comfortable, yet they keep me warm on days when it's below freezing outside (I literally look at the temp on my phone and if it's below 32 degrees, I put these on under my yoga pants.)
Cover your head, hands, and neck (and of course feet) and you will be sung as a bug in a rug. Definitely get outside on the warmer days. Do not dismiss getting outside! Make it a priority! I promise, it pays off.
2. Eat fruit.
Regardless of whether or not you are trying to lose weight, I want you to eat more fruit. Fruit not only has tons of great things to make you healthy, but those same healthy things also make you happy! Much happier than those potato chips you've been munching. Fruit has natural sugars in it that help your brain to function better. Who doesn't need more of that happening?
Now, if you have Type I or Type II Diabetes, please ignore me. I have earthly clue how to manage that, and I do not want you to have some adverse health effects.
3. Take your vitamins.
While we're talking food, let's go on and add this one in. Pretty please, won't you take your vitamins? I know you have some sitting around in your cabinet from that time you meant to take them, but you did it for a week and then forgot about them.
Vitamin B Complex is fabulous. It may make your urine turn into sunshine yellow, but it adds some pep to your step, especially if you are vegetarian or you don't eat much meat in your diet.
Vitamin D is another great vitamin that helps you maintain your physical energy levels. If you are outside a lot, you can get it naturally. But sunblock, clothing, and cloudy winter days can make it difficult for your body to absorb. So sometimes you need a little extra.
Even if you don't take vitamins any other time of year, this is a really good time to fetch that bottle from the back of the cabinet and pop them during the winter months.
Now, if you have some special health conditions and/or medications that you take, please consult with your doctor and pharmacist about adding large doses of vitamins to your regimen to make sure nothing icky happens with your body. You're trying to help it, not add more confusion to it. So ask them if you've got other conditions.
4. Take note of the things happening outside.
I'm talking little, teeny, tiny things here. Look out the window at the closest tree to you every day. For those trees that have lost their leaves for the winter, you'll start to see a little bitty “bump” on the end of the branches where the leaves pop out. The day you spot this, I want you to do a happy dance right where you are, regardless of who sees you. Looking for it every day becomes a bit of a ritual, a treasure hunt that has a great reward!
Doing this exercise over the years helped me realize that there are tons of flowers in the winter months. The season starts on the Winter Soltice, just a few days before Christmas, and last through the Spring Equinox, just a few days after St. Patrick's Day each year. From the camelias to the daffodils to the yellow forsythia and muscari, there are lots of winter flowers that boom between December and March.
5. Change up your decor.
Nope, I don't mean do out and buy something. Switch the quilt that's on your bed. Turn it over to the other side if you need. Rearrange the nick-nacks sitting your tables. Even if you use the same ones, putting them in a different place will add a spark. If you have random kitchen towels that are mint green, make sure to start using those. Switch out pillow cases, table coverings, towels, anything fabric. Rotate it a bit. Put one shower curtain in the other bathroom. Nothing fancy or expensive. Just shake things up.
6. Declutter something.
If you want to do the whole house, hey, I'm not going to stop you. But I'm talking about just decluttering one specific area. It can be the kitchen junk drawer. The area by the front door. A stack of magazines you've been meaning to read. Trust me. This one will make you feel great!
7. Do something nice for someone else.
It doesn't have to be big, nor does it have to cost money. We don't need more of that. We need more little random text messages and private messages and phone calls that say, “I have had you on my mind. How in the world are ya?”
Not only will you make their day, but you'll make your own day, too. In fact, go do this one right now. Seriously. Pick up your phone, or jump to the other screen on your phone, and make contact with a living, breathing, human being. NOW!
8. Plan something fun that will happen in the next 4-5 weeks.
We're getting to the crucial time when you just want to run outside and scream at the sun, “Where in the heck have you been? Get yourself out here right now!”
But, since the sun is ginormous and that kind of thing has more to do with wind and rain patterns near our atmosphere, I want you to focus on something you can control. Again, think small. Maybe you plan to go on a hike at a nearby park on a certain weekend. Maybe you have a special dinner to mark the first day of baseball practice. Maybe you plan a fun girls night, or even a Skype party with your friends who live far, far away from you.
Get something on the calendar to look forward to doing. It will take your focus off of the other things.
9. Listen for people who are feeling the same way you are.
More and more, we're seeing how alone people feel. Listening for comments from others who share the same feelings as you do can be quite helpful. You may hear them at work, at the next table at lunch, on the news, on Facebook, or in a Tweet.
The biggest bang for your buck comes from personal interactions. It made me feel fabulous when my neighbor started talking to me about heating solutions when I was outside a few weeks ago. He can't change my light bill for January, but coming together to lament about it made me feel less alone.
10. Work on something you've been procrasting.
Putting things off not only steals your happiness in this moment, but it prolongs things. Life is too short for that. Gettings things done makes you feel lighter! You are free! So just pick something you've been putting off and do it.
Right now. Yup, go and do it this very second. 🙂
11. Find something that makes you feel lighter emotionally.
It could be watching a Will Ferrell movie or doing yoga. It may be journaling. It could be diving into a good book. Maybe it's whipping up a batch of your favorite cookies (have some fruit with those cookies and a big glass of milk to add some Vitamin D). But don't put this off. It is essential.
12. Get physical.
From dancing in the living room, to raking up some decaying ick in the yard, to sex, to exercise- again, I am not picky about what you do. Just do it, OK? Moving helps to produce endorphins in the brain that chase away the funk. You don't have to break a sweat or do it for hours on end. Just move. For 5 minutes. That's the length of 2 songs in the radio. Just do it. You can thank me later (or you can send me hate mail, lol).
There's Power in Simplicity
Please, please, please: do these. At least some of them. You don't have to do all of them. But I am seeing the blahs and the funk everywhere. In my office. In my own mirror. In people who are checking me out in the store. At stoplights when I peer in other cars.
These things may seem simple, and maybe even too simple to make a big turn around. But if your doctor gave you a pill and said that taking that ONE pill would get you through until spring, you'd plop that thing in your mouth so fast, you'd nearly choke.
Those 12 things above may seem simple. But they work. They are magical. They are missing and they need to be happening in your life, in my life, in everyone's lives (that's my one moment to channel Oprah today).
So this afternoon, this week, or next month, if you start to feel down, if you start to doubt yourself, if you get that tingly anxious feeling in your belly, please, please, please come back to this list and find one thing you can do right then and there. I promise you, it will make a difference.
Spring will be here before you know it!