6 Ways To Beat The Winter Blahs
- Spiff up the joint. In other words: clean. I’m sorry. Whenever I find myself scratching my eyes and despairing about life in general, I know it’s time to grab the broom and a dust cloth.
To be perfectly honest, I usually read for an hour or so first, but eventually I find my cleaning supplies and get to work. My living room stays fairly neat, so during these times it’s actually cleaning I need to do, even if things don’t look dirty. I dust my windows, their sills and frames, the mantel and the tops of my bookcases that flank it, as well as the books themselves. This takes only a few minutes, and then I turn the cushions on my sofas and mop and sweep the floors, and everything feels fresh.
The Naturally Organized have known this for millennia: Life is better when the house is clean. Again, I’m sorry, but it’s true.
- Take a bath. Run a hot tub; if you have salts or bubble bath, pour them in, give yourself a good soak and let the stress roll away.
Bonus: Many creativity experts agree that water helps with creative thought. The Greek scholar Archimedes, stepping into a bath one day, had an epiphany about water volume and its displacement. It’s said he shouted, “Eureka!” (I found it!) and was so excited about his discovery, he jumped right out and ran through the streets of Syracuse naked. Have a design dilemma? Jump into the tub but keep your robe handy.
- 3. Snuggle in. Winter is such a good time for getting cozy and cuddly. Life is made up of small rituals and simple pleasures. This winter I made of point of buying a few throw blankets and placed a large basket under our side table in the living room. Last night as the opening credits for Downton Abbey rolled, I pulled out the throws and got myself all comfy-cozy in a corner of our sofa.
- 4. Get outside. You don’t have to be into downhill or cross-country skiing to enjoy the winter outdoors. Try snowshoeing or find a cleared path and take a (careful) walk.
Just standing in your yard and pausing a moment to breath the fresh, cold air will help. One especially bleak winter, I pulled on my snow gear and laid out on the ground, because the sun was shining and I wanted to soak it up. Given the time of day, I had to be in our side yard, which is entirely visible from the road. I’m sure I looked … strange, but I didn’t care and felt so much better. I never lie out in the sun in the summer, but it has become a winter ritual.
A screened breezeway connects our house and garage. The other night while I stood on the steps waiting for my husband to unlock the door, I sniffed the cold air and listened to the wind blowing in the woods — a pleasure peculiar to winter nights. And then I enjoyed scuttling inside and feeling the comfort of the warm house.
- 5. Have a warm drink. Again it’s the small rituals and simple pleasure, whether it’s the coffee brewing in the morning or a mug of hot chocolate or tea in the afternoon. Many of us find the need to be abstemious this time of year, which is hard because it’s also when we are most in need of small indulgences.
This is a great time to try various teas — green, herbal or another kind. A favorite in our house is peppermint.
- 6. Light a candle or two, or 12. For me the lack of light is the hardest aspect of winter. Not much can change that during the day, but there can be a loveliness in the long nights. Candlelight brings beauty to the darkness.
I remember to light candles around the holidays, but too often they all get put away in the Christmas cleanup. I have LED candles to place in my windows but never got around to setting them up this year. I purposely didn’t pack them up this year and am going to put them out now. And I think I’m going to take a look at other decorating I usually do long before Christmas, and reconsider what I may save for later in the season and even after the holidays.