3 Tips for a Happier Winter

January and February are rough spots for me each year. When the darkness of cold weather + very short days combine, it makes for a lethal combination that comes hard after my spirit.


This year is no different as we have been living not only in the shadow of all things Coronavirus and Quarantines, but because the last three weeks have been cloudy and cold with not an smidge of sunshine in sight.


But did you know that it actually IS a thing? It's appropriately called SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), and since I went to school for interior design I actually studied it. And every single year, in the darkness of January and February I experience a sort of dampening of my spirit.


So every winter, I gear myself up during the joyful month of December for the next January, knowing where it's likely headed. But this year, I decided to go ahead and implement a few strategies in preparation, hoping that they help bring up our winter spirits.




SUNSHINE


This momma loves herself some sunshine. I mean, hello, I live in Texas where the sun is hot and the kids are always barefoot. We do have a few GORGEOUS days in January and February, followed by ice storms that leave us stuck inside for 3 days, but the gorgeous days DO come. So this year I am determined to stop W H A T E V E R my plans are for those days and spend a significant time outside soaking up the sunshine.


Whether it's a walk to the park, bike rides in the cul-de-sac, meet up with friends to play in their driveway or simply pull out sidewalk chalk and play in the backyard. This Vitamin D has played a significant role in carrying my mood from a gorgeous day into a gloomy one.


Side note for those of you who don't get Texas winter weather :: these gorgeous days aren't all good, because it makes me forget about homework, throw caution to the wind and declare that it's almost summertime, so forget about nightly reading - oops. I may be a rule follower, but I do get a little adventurous when the sun is out.




EXERCISE


Alright, so this one might be a no-brainer for y'all, but for me it is a freakin' beat-down. Of course, I know it's good for me physically but I just haven't ever been able to wrap my mind around consistently sacrificing time to do it. But a wise woman once told us that exercise produces endorphins. Endorphins make people happy... and happy people don't just kill people. Thank you, Elle Woods.


Unfortunately, though, I think she's right. Let's boil it down to this : People who exercise don't kill people. And there are a lot of people in my life who might be a lot happier if I exercised consistently, if you get my drift.


Over the past few weeks I've gone from exercising occasionally - think, once or twice a MONTH - to exercising 4-6 times a week. You might be sitting there with a baby in your lap reading this and thinking - I'm OUT.


But if I can do it - you can do it too. I am a total exerciseophobic (totally not a word, y'all). I hate it all. Everything about it. I have found though, that it is totally doable if I just plan for it and stay committed. As much as I want to have those excuses, I just can't anymore.


This is a HUGE mood-booster. I hate to admit it, but now as much as I hate the time it takes for me to workout, I look forward to the feeling afterward. And when I get to run outside in the sunshines, it's the absolute BEST, because I'm killing two birds with one stone.



INFUSING GREEN


So this might be the biggest one for me this year. I've spent about $25 and bought myself several small-ish houseplants. They'll probably end up in the trash can, sad and lonely in a month or two, but for now, they bring our house so much joy and LIFE in the dead of winter.


I look outside our big windows and even on a beautiful sunny day, it's brown and dead outside. I see twigs and brown grass. But inside? That's another story. My eyes can hit on plant after plant... green grass. New leaves. Beautiful life happening right inside this little ceramic vase. It really might be the best $25 I've ever spent. Now every room has at least one plant... maybe two. This could totally be a game changer for those of you who need a little life-giving jolt this winter!


Do you struggle with feeling SAD in the dead of winter?? (See what I did there?) It's completely normal, scientifically proven, and probably easier to deal with if we acknowledge it! I hope you find these simple and easy tips to be helpful mood boosters!! Let me know if you try them and how they work out for you!!!


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