Power outages, sub zero temperatures, snow, sleet, freezing rain, icy windshields and slippery roads. It’s no wonder winter can make us feel a little blue. While we cannot change the weather, we can engage ourselves in activities that stimulate our senses and recharge our soul.
Here are 15 ways to lift your spirits this season:
1. Volunteer– As the days get cooler and shorter, food cupboards, shelters and churches see an influx of people looking for their next meal. As an individual, family or company you can help! If you’re short on time, check out local food cupboards to see what items they are short on for the month. Giving to others is the best way to perk up.
2. Make Cards- As you know, so many holidays happen during the winter. Whether you buy or make your cards or simply write a note on lined paper, let your friends and family know you are thinking of them. There is even a project called More Love Letters where you can send notes to “strangers” who need a pick me up.
3. Read Magazines– I’m going to let you in on a secret. Those annoying cards you see in the middle of magazines … throw them all away. Never order a magazine that way again. Set-up an eBay account (you’ll see me refer to eBay a few times in this article) and search for magazine subscriptions. I can’t tell you the last time I paid more than $4 for a one or two year subscription. It seems too good to be true, but it is not. My family and I both order this way and all magazines arrive within the standard time.
4. Vision Board– About those magazines. As you’re reading or when you’re done, tear out all of the words, pages or pictures that caught your eye for one reason or another. Grab a poster board or cork board and start manifesting what you want the next several months of your life to look like. Put this on the wall in a place your eyes see several times a day. This is a great tool to help your dreams come to life.
5. Dinner Parties- One plus one equals two. That’s a party. If you’re lucky enough to know more than one person, great! Pick a theme. Stop worrying about the cleanliness of your house and get social. Add in board games and chili bake-offs and a cookie swap. You don’t need to be a Food Network guru to host a dinner party. Make it kid-friendly and have the kids make their own mini pizzas.
6. Winter Sports– I have this theory that if I have a snow hobby, it’ll make the season go by faster and be a bit more enjoyable. So this is the year I learn to snowboard. Even if I end up hating it, I am bound to give it a shot. Bangor Parks and Rec offers skating lessons and often teams up with Hermon Mountain and Sugarloaf offering discounts that the mountains themselves don’t always have available.
7. Grateful Journal– Each night before bed, add this in to your routine: sit quietly on your bed or at your desk and recall the day. What are you thankful for? It doesn’t need to be elaborate … it can be as simple as a list of 5 things. Try to stick with the same number each day (unless you’re feeling off-the-charts appreciative). Date it. When you’re having a bad day, pull out this journal and reflect on previous days. You’ll be pleasantly surprised about how your overall attitude shifts after three weeks of doing this.
8. Switch Photos– Chances are, you keep the same photos in the same frames. Time to update! Shutterfly and Walgreens always offer great print deals.
9. Get Your Pinterest On– I’m not saying scroll and pin for hours … I’m saying, all those pins you’ve saved … give them a try! If for some reason you do not have a Pinterest account … try your hand at making all of your holiday gifts. You’ll surprise yourself. Creativity does not run out. The more you use it, the more you have.
10. Hone Your Craft– Or, figure out what it is your craft may be. The beautiful thing about life, is we will never know it all. There’s always one tidbit of information we can benefit from. No matter how many workshops, events, speakers, books, trainings etc. we think we’ve already heard/attended etc. you will gain something. Start a brainstorming group with like-minded people. Nothing generates more inspiration than a bunch of passionate people bouncing ideas off each other.
11. Make Extra Dough– Not cookie dough. Money. Back to the eBay account. It’s free and easy to sign up (you’ll also need a PayPal account … also free and easy). Those piles of clothes your kids have outgrown? List em. The wardrobe you no longer wear? Sell it. If you know what brands are most wanted, you’ll even be able to find some goodies at thrift shops that you can double or triple your “investment.” I don’t know antiques, but for those who do … start dusting them off and snap some photos.
12. Go International– Forget about Taco Tuesday … why not devote a whole week to a certain country. Wear the clothes, play the music, eat the food, learn the language.
13. Try New Things– At the end of the year, we make goals and schemes and dreams, right? How about instead of mapping out your entire year, start small. For example, each day in January try something new. Big or small. If change and new things scare you, start with a new route to work. Pretty soon you’ll ask yourself: “What comfort zone?”
14. Celebrate Love- You don’t have to be in a relationship, marriage or have children to celebrate love. In February, we use Valentine’s Day to express affection. Some people hate this, others dig it. Pull out that journal again, and on each day of February, write down something you love about yourself. Hashtag SelfLove.
15. Learn to Meditate– You can’t have the blues when you meditate. Ok, let me rephrase. Once meditation becomes routine, you will not have the blues. A lot of people say they can’t meditate, but most have not tried. Start with a minute. Increase to five. Don’t give up as soon as your mind starts racing. That will happen at first. YouTube has great guided meditations. I recommend staying away from Pandora unless you have the version that is commercial free.
Most all of these activities do not involve screen time, which is key for connecting the mind, body and soul. Do you have go-to activities or tips to beat the blues? I would love to hear about them!