It’s wonderful living in the temperate rain forest that is the Pacific Northwest, but the rainy days of winter do take their toll come January. Here’s a few tips to help you beat any winter blues that might be creeping up.
This year we were fortunate to take a winter escape down to sunny San Diego for a few days of much needed Vitamin D. If money and time doesn’t allow for a trip some place new, think about planning a staycation instead. Think of it like a get away – don’t make plans or run errands or check your email. Just slow down and force yourself out of the routine. You might be surprised how refreshed you are come Monday morning.
Peering out the window to drizzly rain or icicles? Bundle up anyway, pour yourself a thermos of hot cocoa and go for a day hike. We hiked along Torrey Pines State Park, perhaps my favorite memory from the San Diego trip. But wherever you live, taking a nice day hike after the gluttonous holidays can do wonders. The blood gets moving through your body again. You feel energized from all that fresh oxygen through your lungs.
Don’t feel like going far? Try a long urban hike around your neighborhood. And don’t forget to stop to smell the… well… fresh air.
Let in Light
Open the blinds all the way to let in as much light as possible. I open the windows too once a week to clear out stagnate, stuffy air. Those folks in northern areas get the short end of the light stick, so try to maximize how much daylight you can get while your inside.
Exercise does wonders for emotional and physical health, both of which are much needed at this time of year. The garden might be quiet, but it’s a good time of year to turn the compost pile to re-energize the micro organisms inside. Build raised beds, mend the chicken coop or even spread some mulch ahead of the growing season. These are all great ways to get a start on the garden before it springs to life, while also getting in a good workout.
Fresh air and a good day of garden work can do wonders, but it’s not a silver bullet to cure all things. Know when to ask for help, like seeing a therapist or reaching out to a good friend for support. The start of a new year is reason enough for many of us to make changes that are long overdue.
Any other tips of beating the winter blues? Tell me about it in the comments below! We’ve still got many months of gray skies left in Portland, so the more ideas the better.