Every year when February hits, the cold short days seem to drag on. The excitement of the holidays has worn us (and our pockets) down, and everything settles to a quiet hum. The desire to curl up in bed gets the best of us, and before we realize it, its been way too long since we've spent time outdoors, our skin is drying out, our chap stick needs replaced, and comfort food seems to now only please our waistline.
It's this time of the year where I know its coming but yet, I do nothing about it. I pull inside myself, dreaming of warm air, sunshine, and wonder how long this will last. When only a couple months ago, i couldn't wait for snow, chilly nights by the fire, mittens, boots, and soups. So can we really beat the winter blues?
Well I've decided to try, by sitting down and making a list of things that will help build me up and take advantage of the last of these cold winter days.
1. Get up, get out, get active!
This is the time of year to explore new and exciting ways to be active. You can go the the local YMCA (as we do a few times a week)- but treadmills and elliptical machines get old! Luckily our Y has 8 indoor tennis courts that allow us to practice our back-swing anytime of the year. For a few dollars a week, you can sign up for private lessons. So come summer time, you'll be ready to challenge your sportiest of friends.
Now if you are really into getting fit, what better way than signing up for a 5k or marathon! Use this down time to train, and by summer, you'll be researching where to sign up next!
The Y is also great for swimming, a sport that we usually think of during the summer, but if you can find a Y that includes an indoor pool with the inclusion of a sauna - you'll be feeling like you just spent a day at the beach! (although, my husband thinks sitting in a sauna is the same as getting shut in our mini barn on a summer day) either way, it works!
My favorite winter activity is skiing, while it is pricy if you don't own your own skis. Totally worth every penny, and most places offer free beginner lessons with each lift ticket purchase. A great activity to do with the family or the perfect date night activity. (night skiing will save you on the cost of a lift ticket, plus you don't usually have to fight bigger crowds!) Perfect north slopes, also offers snow tubing, so if you decide you've had it with skiing for the day, you can switch your ticket over to the tubing hills.
For the not-so-active, I encourage you to get out of your comfort zone. Even just 20 minutes of Yoda a day will be beneficial for your overall health and mind. But if the temptation is just not there, move on to numbers 2-10.
2. Find your crafty side.
Try picking up a new hobby. Whether you've always wanted to paint, use that adult coloring book that you got a few Christmas' ago or pull out the old sewing machine; now is the time to dig in and try. Crocheting or finger knitting became a fad for us a few winters ago. Yarn is inexpensive and while we only learned to make hats and headbands, it was great to find out that we can always pick it back up to make homemade gifts for others during the holidays.
While I put a lot of my craftiness into my home business, It's hard for me to put thought into other crafts, as I feel like I could be spending my time on more useful things. But if your crafts become gifts for others, it seems to be well worth my time.
Pick up your camera/ or phone. This time of year, it's possible to find beauty in rare places. Get outdoors and start snapping up close photos of nature. You may be surprised on how God gives us the ability to seek out his beauty in the most darkest of times.
3. Strengthen your spiritual side.
God gives us a way to work through life when we don't think we have the strength to do so. Because we ourselves don't have the strength, God wants us to depend on him. Devoting yourself to a personal or group bible study, will not only lift your spirits, but get you that much closer to a forever gift in heaven. You might find that you can reduce stress, learn how to deal with difficult people, and have a more profound love for others than you could have ever imagined. If you don't know where to start, Meetup.com is a very useful hub for finding group bible studies in your area. We found one that meets at a local coffee shop on Saturday mornings. The group didn't push us to make a commitment, we weren't expected to know the bible front and back, and we met some great friends along the way!
Another recent find was AppianMedia.org - they have a few series of videos they have made including "Following The Messaiah" and "Searching For A King". Watch a video and pull out scripture to follow along.
Even a private devotional time in the morning will get you going throughout the day! Use a journal to track your progress. It doesn't have to be lengthy or drawn out. Start with a verse at a time. By strengthening and recharging your mind, you'll be spiritualy encouraged in no time!
4. Drink more water. Detox.
We all know we need to do it! Well now is that time to do it! Invest in a 24oz or larger well made water bottle like this one. Challenge yourself or even go in on a friendly competition with a co-worker or family member. Start out by tracking your daily water intake. You should drink at least half your body weight in ounces. Note that the first two days you might find that you'll have more frequent trips to the bathroom, even during the night. But that will pass. First thing in the morning- start by drinking a large glass of water to wake yourself up. By substituting your tea, soda, and juices with water, you'll find yourself losing weight. You'll feel more energetic, less brain fog, you'll hydrate your skin, and your body will thank you!
5. Start a new bedtime routine.
Getting a good nights sleep is important. I've been using my fitness tracker to track by sleep patterns. I was surprised to find that I was only getting about 5 hours of sleep at night. When i tried to hit the mattress sooner, I found myself tossing and turning. It wasn't until i put my bedtime routine into action that I found myself falling asleep quicker, but I was able to wake up feeling rested and ready to go.
Set a timer for yourself to start getting ready for bed. A detox bath is great for pulling the days toxins out of your body, plus a relaxing way to wind down.
Make a detox bath by using 1cup Epsom salt, two tablespoons of baking soda, and 5 drops of lavender essential oils. There are several other recipes you can find online as well. Be sure to hydrate yourself before, during or after. I take my water bottle with me to make sure I'm not dehydrating myself.
Use a skin renewal system, like Arbonne. Your skin will surprise you after a week of staying on a routine. And don't forget to lather up with skin cream. This time of the year- your skin needs extra moisture.
Make a hot cup of tea. Herbal tea with pure local honey will put relaxation to a whole new level.
Use an essential oil diffuser - a a few ice cubes, lavender, and frankincense oil for the perfect sleep blend.
Dim the lights and open up a book for the last few minutes. By the time you find yourself saying your nightly prayers.- you will be falling asleep in no time!
6. Go on a whole food diet.
One of the best things I did for my health this year was the Arbonne30 detox program. I detoxed for a few days and cut out sugar and gluten from my diet. Even if you're not interested in such a strict program, try switching to a natural diet for a month. Stop purchasing processed foods, and stock up on produce (fresh and frozen) plus staple whole30 approved pantry items. Plan out your meals before heading to the grocery. When you get home from the store, allow plenty of time to meal prep. I actually use Instacart to have my groceries delivered, so I am not buying all the things I really don't need (+saving money!) There are some amazing blogs out there for researching meal prep, many of which has facebook support groups. Make your refrigerator look like a high end salad bar that gets you excited every time you open the fridge. You'll find that dining out is no longer as pleasing as it once was. You'll save money by not buying processed foods, less dining out, and taking your own lunch each day. Imagine the possibilities you could do with that left over income. hmmm....
7. Plan a cross country road trip or vacation.
With that leftover income and your much anticipated tax check, start budgeting a family vacation. This year we are planning a cross country road trip. As fearful, intimidating and expensive as it sounded, I was surprised to find out that by driving our family- it was quite inexpensive as we had thought! I'll let you know how it goes come summer! But I also found that researching all of the places we plan to go, gave me and my kinds so much geographical knowledge! We are exploring new places, new adventures, and learning so much about our country! Budgeting is key, and now is the time to go over and renew your budget anyway!
8. Up your winter fashion- take advantage of sales.
If a vacation is not in the works, take advantage of winter sales! Splurging a bit on a new sweater and boots, could be the "pick-me-up" that you need! All stores right now are marking down their winter stock to make room for new spring arrivals. We were able to pick up a pair of boots and sweater for my daughter at charllotte russ all under $15!
9. Start your Green thumb now!
Research how to start an indoor herb garden! Fresh herbs make me happy! I love throwing them into a new or old recipe to liven it up. I hate buying fresh herbs from the market to only watch them go bad in my fridge.
Live plants in our home can detox the air, give up more oxygen, and are pleasing to the eye this time of the year.
Why not try out your green thumb now. Who knows, by the time spring hits- you may be ready to start your own garden!
10. Declutter your home.
Ugh, you knew it was coming! Cleaning in no way would lift up my spirits. I despise it! But the end result is so worth it! Why wait till spring to work inside? When Spring hits, I want to open up the windows and go outside!
Even if you can't get yourself to hand scrub your floors, try de-cluttering. I know Netflix has a show on now that is inspiring others to do such! Clutter not only fills up space in our home- but in our minds! Clearing out space now, will find you feeling uplifted- and dreaming about how you can now effectively use the space you are left with!
Do something kind for someone...
Weather you pay it forward in the drive-thru or take extra time to write a note to someone you love, it pays to take time for others. Kindness matters and spreads like wildfire! While the blues may have gotten you down, don't discount the effect you have on others. A little gift with sentimental value can bring comfort to someone who may need it more than you know. Please feel free to check out our vintage branding shop for gift ideas that are small, practical, yet sentimental. We have been so blessed to create gifts for others knowing that each piece will bring a smile to not only the receiver, but the one who is gifting it! We bring handmade thoughtfulness into each piece that leaves our shop, all the while working with you to create the exact design that you will be excited about. And since you have so kindly taken the time to read through our blog post, please feel free to use coupon code: BLOG20 for 20% off your order.
For more ideas, check out our Winter Pick Me Up's Pinterest page here!
Please note, that I am in no way affilliated with any of the links provided to sites and products linked in this blog post, besides Vintage Branding Co. It is not my intention to solicatate, nor do I recieve anything from the above mentioned companies.
I am not a doctor nor do I have a degree in the medical profession to diagnose seasonal dissorders. Nothing mentioned here is intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please see a healthcare professional before doing anything you feel may be questionable.