February. Definitely not my favourite time of the year. Everything’s grey and cold and you don’t even want to leave the house. Winter blues time. There are days that I’m actually looking forward to going back to bed from the minute my alarm clock rings in the morning. Definitely not ideal. If it was possible, I’d move to California or the south of France, at least for the months of January to March. Since that isn’t possible and I don’t want to continue wishing my days away, I’ve come up with some ideas, how to brave this time of year.
I don’t really understand why, but there are some kind of foods that actually make you feel better and have a more positive outlook on the day. They force your body to produce serotonin (which in turn makes you happy and let’s the winter blues go away). The best known examples are bananas, dark chocolate and pasta, but other great examples are nuts, oats, potatoes, lentils, chicken and eggs. Don’t even think about dieting (the good thing about winter is that you can hide those extra kilos under your sweaters ;). Don’t over-indulge too much though: Feeling sick and having an upset stomach isn’t going to make you feel better about winter. Everything in moderation, I’d say.
Even if the sun isn’t shining, just half an hour outside helps you feel calmer and happier. Your metabolism needs light to work properly and artificial light just isn’t enough. And I don’t know about you, but somehow I often feel as if I have achieved something after going outside, even though I just took a walk.
Not to lose weight, just for fun. Do something relaxing, like Pilates, a dance workout or whatever else you are into. Get those happy endorphines going! I’m really into swimming lately – I go in the morning when there’s nobody but me and some retirees. It’s really relaxing and easy not to think about anything.
Old and new. You probably all agree that the world looks easier when you’re with your best friends (or your family). Catch up with those people you haven’t seen in a long time, get inspired by their stories and just soak up the good energy. Repeat as often as possible.
Again, do whatever you enjoy the most. Paint, draw, cook or bake. Don’t try a DIY with twenty steps at which you might fail (and which will make you feel even more frustrated afterwards). Just try something easy, a fool-proof recipe or just let your creativity take you anywhere. Maybe take your camera with you and just head outside and shoot (this gives you a walk and time to create!)
This way, you won’t just wait for summer to arrive. Instead you’ll have a cool new skill or new ideas once it’s Spring again. If you’re motivated, take a Skillshare class. If that’s too much, sit back on your couch with a cup of coffee and a blanket and listen to some Podcast (I really like the BBC Great Lives and World Book Club).
This is easier said than done, but so essential. If you sleep enough, you have more energy to deal with anything the day throws at you and just a generally more positive outlook on the world.
Watch a funny or cute movie (I recently finished watching Happy Endings and loved it). Put tip number four into practice and share some jokes with friends. Host a fun game night.
Go to the coffee shop, get your favourite hot drink and relax. Afterwards, take a long hot bath. Light some lovely candles. Read a book that isn’t intellectual or anything, but just plain fun (I can recommend The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets – the best book I have read this year). Have a glass of wine. Get that dress you have been eyeing forever. Make some healthy smoothies and feel good inside and out. Just give your soul a little break and enjoy every little moment.
These are my strategies against the winter blues this year, let’s hope for the best on these long February nights. What about you? What are your favourite ways to survive February?