I wrote this piece a few years ago and I update it and republish it every year. Taking care of ourselves and our loved ones never goes away. These tips are always relevant and my hope is they bring you a little light in the darkness.
Okay, I’ll admit it…I’m feeling the February blahs pretty bad this year. February has been beating me down…every…single…day. I know that I am not alone. February is notoriously known as one of the hardest months to get through. So, I’m turning things around with these simple ways to beat the February blues. These are inexpensive and easily accessible ways to throw the blues aside and jump into a happier disposition.
Eat a Salad – February can be a heavy month – emotionally and physically. Lighten up dinner with a great big salad. Sounds silly, right? How and what we eat has a direct impact on our mood. All those heavy comfort foods (mac and cheese, stew, chilli, etc) are delicious, but they might be dragging you down. Head straight for the produce department and grab all the greens, citrus and fruit you can find. Not only will a big salad have you thinking of warmer weather, it will give your body the vitamins and antioxidants that you might have been missing. Check out this delicious citrus caprese salad with honey vinaigrette from A View from Great Island.
Exercise – Okay, here is a tough one. Right? I have to admit, while I know that exercising fires off all the right receptors in the brain, I still find it hard to fit exercise into my winter routine. Exercise can actually make you feel better. If a trip to the gym isn’t in your future find your own way to exercise. Click over to YouTube and search for an exercise routine that you think might work for you. There are yoga videos, aerobics, break out into a 20 minute dance party – whatever gets your heart pumping. I discovered this great app, called Sworkit (I have absolutely no affiliation with this app, I just like it) where you customize the length of your workout. If you only have 10 minutes to do some stretching, there is a routine for that. Seriously, I am loving this app right now.
Get Outside – We all read about the importance of light on our moods. Sunlight can have a very real effect on many people. The darker winter months can take their toll. As moms we get busy around the house and the next thing you know the day has gone by and we didn’t get outside. During the day, take a break and spend some time outside. Set an alarm on your phone – a “get outside” alarm. Put on your coat, hat and scarf and take a coffee break outside, walk around the block with the kids, skip the drive to school – 20 minutes of sunlight can be enough. Aside from the Vitamin D dosage you will get, going outside in the winter can have a positive, calming effect on your body and mind. The kids will benefit from the time spent outdoors too. The importance of taking the time to disconnect from technology and reconnect with nature cannot be overstated.
Watch Your Favourite Comedy – Laughter is the best medicine, it’s true. We love borrowing movies from our local library, the library has an endless supply of movies, and it doesn’t cost a cent to borrow from the library. Take a chance on a new comedy or stick with something you love…spending a couple of hours laughing is good for your soul. Whatever makes you laugh – go for it.
Meet Up – The snow is falling, it’s chilly out. Everyone has an excuse to stay inside. The truth is we need human interaction in our day to day living and I mean with adults – not toddlers. Set a date to grab a cup of coffee with your friends. Pick up the phone and call someone for a chat. If your life is online, send an ecard to someone you care about. Finding ways to connect with other people, even on the darkest and coldest days can increase your relationship bonds with others and help turn your mood around.
Journal – Write out your emotions. A journal can be used in any way you wish. Jot down everything you are grateful for. Jot down everything that is frustrating you right now. Jot down your biggest dreams. Jot down your inner most secrets. Put pen to paper and see what flows. Sometimes the act of simply “dumping” everything onto paper can bring you inner relief. Personally, I keep a journal in my bedside table. If I’m having a hard time sleeping, I write out everything that is floating around in my head. I may never look at those notes again, but in that moment writing them down provides me with the peace I need to sleep.
Seek Help – When are the February blues more than a bad case of the “blues”? If you are feeling overwhelmed and are having a hard time even considering doing any of the ideas suggested here, it may be time to seek help. If your friends and family have voiced their concern, if getting out of bed, having a shower and eating properly are simply too difficult for you to face – seek help. Pick up the phone and call your family physician, call your local distress centre or drop into a clinic. The first step is the most difficult and the most important.
How do you beat the February blues? Do you have a tip to share? Please leave a comment below or share a tip on our Facebook page. I would love to hear how everyone is coping with the cold, grey days of February.
Looking for more ways to be active in the winter months? Check out these winter active ideas…
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