Fighting the Winter Blues

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I grew up in Florida….you know, the state where it is ALWAYS 80 degrees. Unless it’s August, and then it’s more like 180 degrees….but still, it’s never really that cold. Now, they’ll tell you that it gets cold. But when someone from Florida says, “It’s cold,” that usually means that they have to wear a sweatshirt……with their shorts and flip flops. 

My point to all of this….this winter in Hampton Roads has been BRUTAL for this Florida girl! I really, really, really need it to be 80 degrees now. Enough is enough.

This weather affects my mood! I started noticing a few weeks ago that I was being grumpy a lot. I was snarky. I was annoyed easily. I was easily offended. I was sad at the drop of the hat. The symptoms go on and on.

And if you think I was bad….this picture pretty much sums up Maggie:Image

PS. Don’t mind that she has underwear on her head….that’s how we roll some days. 

Maggie has been cranky, sick, sniffly, whiny (oh- the whining!), sassy, and again, her symptoms go on and on.

So what is causing all of this negativity in my household? 

I sum it all up to: The Winter Blues! 

Growing up in Florida, I never experienced much of a winter. There was no snow, gray skies, rain, snow, cold weather, etc. (Note that I added snow a few times because this snow that we have been getting is out of control). So I have decided that my bad attitude has to be a reflection of the gray atmosphere Mother Nature has been delivering to the Hampton Roads area in the last few months. 

It is natural to get winter blues for several reasons:

1. It’s too cold to go outside, so you stay inside and start getting on each other’s nerves. 

2. Your body naturally needs the sun: Vitamin D. And let’s face it- we aren’t getting much of that these days.

3. When you do decide to brave the cold weather, it just makes you cranky. 

4. Gray days are gloomy which reflects on our mood.

5. The kids are getting antsy and so are we. 

So how do we fight the winter blues? How do we change our attitudes since we can’t change the meteorologist’s reports? 

Here are a few tips that have helped our household:

1. Embrace the “cabin” part of “cabin fever.”
Once summer hits, your schedule is going to get super busy- trust me. So embrace this time to catch up on nap time, cleaning, and being lazy because you won’t always get these opportunities. 

2. Take the kids out….just not out.
Let me explain, the kids are going to go CRAZY if they stay inside your house 24/7 and only leave for school….and with all these snow days, they don’t even get to go there. So take them out, but take them to indoor places. Take them to the mall and walk around, the movies, the Play Place, or out to eat. The indoor fun possibilities are endless! They will be happier if they see something other than the house. They don’t have to be outside, but just out of the house every now and then.

3. Get the kids excited about summer. 
There are several ways to do this. You can have a countdown calendar until Spring Break, Summer Break, a family vacation, etc. and every day they get to mark through a day. You can get them involved in swim lessons (at an indoor pool of course) to get them ready for all the swimming they will be doing this summer. You can get out their swim suits and swimming trunks and have them try it on just to remind them of all the fun they will be having this summer swimming and at the beach.

We did this today….Maggie dressed herself, if you can’t tell:

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4. Be the change that you want your household to be.
If you are tired of bad attitudes in your house, then maybe (just maybe) you need to start changing your own attitude first. Like I said before, I started noticing that I had a really short fuse, and realized that I was the one with the bad attitude. That bad attitude trickles down to our spouses and kids, so make sure you are extra proactive about having a more positive attitude. 

1 Thessalonians 5:16 says “be joyful always.” This can be super hard for me…..I mean, super duper hard for me. I am a natural complainer. I tend to go to the negative with everything. So this verse helps me remember that no matter what the circumstances, no matter how yucky the weather is, no matter how bad of a day I am having, I need to be joyful…..always. The kids will also pick up on this and be joyful with you. 

5. Play upbeat music
I know this may sound silly, but this totally works! If I listen to a little more upbeat, workout music or christian music that usually helps my mood. 

6. Take care of you. 
You know that phrase “If Mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy”? It’s true, friends. It’s so true. If you don’t have any time to do anything for yourself, you will start to feel down about yourself which in turn will reflect on your attitude. I know our number one priority is taking care of the kids and taking care of the house, but you have to set time aside for yourself. Even if it’s just ten minutes a day to be isolated by yourself to do whatever you please: read, paint your nails, watch something on TV that you want, get out of the house and go somewhere you want to go, etc. That will really help your mood. 

7. Eat healthier.
It is so hard to eat healthy in the winter. Fruits and veggies are not in season, so they are more expensive, nothing is fresh, and with the winter blues, all you want to eat are Oreos anyways. Trust me, this will catch up to you and you will really start to get down on yourself. Put down the cookies (yes, right now, put them down) and start eating healthier. Smoothies, yogurt, fruits and veggies (if you can, even though it isn’t season). This really will help you feel better about yourself, which will help your attitude.

8. Work out. 
Work out now, because even though you think summer is never going to get here- it will be here before you know it and we will have to start putting our bathing suits on. Also, working out helps you feel more energetic and helps you feel better about yourself.

9. Take a Vacation
This option may not be possible for everyone, but if you can, take a vacation. Even if it is a short, weekend trip. Just get out of town and go hang out at a hotel with an indoor pool for the kids to play in. This will help you fight the winter blues because it will get you away from the house and away from all the regular chores you have to do every day. 

10. Bundle up and head outside
Some days we just need to be outside. So even if it is super freezing, get the kids all bundled up in their snow suits and head outside for some fresh air. Fresh air will really help your mood- even if the air is ridiculously cold. Get out of that house- it will help your mood!

 

Good luck and here’s to hoping the weather gets warmer SOON!
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