Author, Speaker, Addiction & Relinquishment Consultant, Relinquishee, Adoptee, MPE

Lose the Winter Blues

Southeastern Wisconsin was blasted with 15 inches of snow yesterday.


Photo by Tom Lynn/ Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

It’s officially spring. How’s the weather by you?

Whether you live someplace mild but rainy, cold, or downright frigid, chances are you’re spending a good portion of your days indoors. Too little sunshine and fresh air really dampers enthusiasm for many people. In some cases, being cooped up for too long can actually lead to mild depression. Experts have named this affliction “SAD” or Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Whether you prefer clinical-sounding labels or simply call it “the winter blues,” this time of year brings on a big urge to hibernate. But since we can’t disappear into a warm, dark cave for three months… many people can appreciate a good plan to keep spirits and energy levels up. How do we make it through the slush and snow to work, keeping a spring in our step and a smile on our faces?

I say, start thinking outside the box, or rather think inside the box–your house.

Brainstorm a winter “task list” or “playlist” with friends and family. To get you started, here are some ideas of projects you can take on to:

1. Plan your summer vacation. Often there’s more fun in the anticipation of an event than the event itself. When you have six months to look forward to a vacation, you’ll enjoy all that time planning as well as imagining yourself there. Look through cruise catalogs, surf the ‘net, discuss ideas around the dinner table. Once you book your trip, start planning your activities and wardrobe. This is a great project to keep you occupied until the sun can shine down on your sun screened body.

2. Tackle home repairs and projects. Most of us are too busy to keep up with everything that needs to be done around the house. During the winter, you can catch up on repairs–primarily the ones you can do indoors. How about that basement that needs to be cleaned out? What about the new paint you’ve been planning for your bedroom? How about that hall closet that needs reorganizing? You’ll feel great when spring comes, and the only item on your to-do list is “get out there and enjoy the warm weather.”

3. Learn a new hobby or skill. Education is an ongoing event in our lives, but we often don’t have the time or focus to learn something new. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to do laser hair removal. Maybe you’ve wanted to improve your computing skills. Perhaps learning a new language or studying the history of a certain time period intrigues you. The library is a vast resource for learning anything you want. And of course, the Internet holds more educational resources than anyone can imagine.

4. Plan your summer garden. Some garden enthusiasts enjoy spending the winter months browsing garden catalogs. Sketch out some new plans for your garden and start ordering your seeds. Imagining all those beautiful blooms and tasty fruits and vegetables is a sure cure for winter blues.

5. Invite friends over for a TV or movie marathon. Sometimes a TV station will run episodes of an old show for 12 or 24 hours. That gives you a chance to catch up on missed episodes or revisit your favorite sitcom or sci-fi show. Or rent a bunch of movies from the library or local rental shop and get out the popcorn.

6. Write letters or write in your journal. Winter seems like the perfect time to catch up on correspondence to faraway friends and family–or to yourself. Why not get cozy in your favorite chair and spend time responding to those holiday letters? Or, send a few “how are you doing” or “thanks for being in my life” notes. And consider starting or continuing a communication with yourself in a journal. It’s a great way to increase your self-knowledge and self-esteem.

Happy winter. Bye-bye blues.

Copyright 2008 David Bohl, All rights reserved.

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