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How to Battle Your Winter Blues

You know those people who hate hot weather, love wearing ten layers under their super heavy winter coats, and obsess over freshly fallen snow? Gosh, those people have it easy in winter. That’s not everyone. Winter can be a depressing time for many. It’s dark in the winter. It’s cold frigid in the winter. Your mood can change in the winter. It might not be easy to feel happy, healthy, and vibrant in the winter. That’s why self-care is really important for you if you don’t fare well in the cold weather months.

To help you tackle your winter weather blues, I’ve come up with a few ideas that can help you take advantage of wintery things. Because when life hands you raw eggs, make eggnog.

  1. Warm up. Winter can be really cold, and if you hate cold weather that can be a real downer. But it offers something unique that summer doesn’t – the relief and relaxation that can come from warming up. Winter is the perfect time to relax in a hot bath before bed. Find a cinnamon spice bath bomb to enhance the experience. Or you could put on sweats, bury deep into a big blanket, and pick up that book you’ve been too busy to touch.
  2. Taste the winter tastes. Just like watermelon Italian ice to cool you off on a hot summer day, there are goodies that are unique to the chillier times. Take advantage of these seasonal treats by using mindfulness to enjoy them. Take your time to slowly sip and enjoy your hot cocoa while watching the tiny marshmallows melt on top. Carefully and thoughtfully prepare a hearty stew that you can sit down to eat while fully enjoying and appreciating the flavors you taste and the love you put into creating it. Judiciously choose the best looking candy cane from the tree and take your time to enjoy the minty sweetness.
  3. Take advantage of snow days. Snow days are winter perks! They are days you are supposed to be at work, and then poof! You’re stuck the house – like actually not supposed to leave. That only happens in winter. Spend some time now thinking about how you can incorporate some self-care into your bonus days off. This is your chance to binge watch that Netflix show you can’t seem to make time for. Or maybe to finish that scrapbook you started four years ago. Snow days are good for staying in the same outfit all day – your pajamas. You have time to make waffles for breakfast, and then maybe again for dinner. Do whatever it is you want to do to give yourself a break and to care for the parts of you that get neglected in the busyness of life.

These are just a few things you can do to battle winter blues. What are some ideas that YOU have? What would you add to the list?! I’d love to hear them!

Book Review Series: Why reading should still be important to you

So you’ve just finished reading the last chapter of your scary huge textbook, you have to collect and read a pile of research articles, and you have to find time to proof read your 15 page research paper before tomorrow. Academic reading has consumed your life? As a graduate student with year-round school, please trust me when I say ME TOO. When I get home from class at night the LAST thing on my mind is reading a nice book for my mental and emotional health. To be completely frank, I’m so sick of reading that I’ve completely lost touch with how much books used to take care of me. I always feel so conflicted when I pick up a book, thinking “if I have time to read this, that means I have time to catch up on readings for school.” I get in such a weird headspace that I end up putting the book down and doing something else, whether it’s productive or not. I feel like I’m cheating my grades if I start reading for “fun.” This continual pressure is taking away my time to care for myself and I need to make a change. Recently I’ve made a deal with myself that I am going to let books start to take care of me again.

I want to see myself in their characters, I want their stories to make me think about the world, and I want their messages to comfort and ease my soul.

Books are such a magical way to find connection with people and stories without having to leave the comfort of your own thoughts. I love books. I’ve lost touch with what they used to mean to me, and that troubles me beyond words. They are the ultimate daydream. When I want to find a little solitude and enter a new reality where my stresses don’t exist, I read a book. Books have become the enemy and I am not okay with that. I want to renew my relationships with books and let them ease my stresses and soothe my soul.

I will be reading a new book every month and writing a short review about what the book has meant to me, how the book has impacted me, and how it might impact you in some way. Books are for learning. Books are also a form of rejuvenation for your mind and soul. I will be reading the soul hugging kind and recommending some of my favorites to the folks out there like me who have taken an accidental leave of absence from books and want to find enjoyment and fulfillment in them once again. I want to let books take care of me in the way that they used to. If you find yourself making these same remarks or these same excuses, please let me validate for you that you are not the only one. If you’ve recognized your relationships with books needs some attention, I invite you to join me in this new promise of self-care.

If you find some connection between my thoughts and your own experience, let’s meet back here and start a dialogue on the books I have chosen. The first book I am going to read (actually revisit) is a classic comfort read of mine that I just recently re-read as I renewed my commitment to reading: The Giver, by Lois Lowry. I love this book. Meet me here and let me tell you why you would too.

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