11 February 2014

Fighting the Winter Blues

Feeling Depressed?

I have felt so yucky these past few weeks.  I truly believe it's because of being cooped up in the house and not getting enough gorgeous sunshine.  This 20 degree weather for so many weeks straight is down right awful.  I hate bundling up all the kids.  I'm tired of washing the floors from the salt and wet snow.  And I am really tired of shoveling, de-icing, and ice skating down my driveway.

Since I've been in such a bad mood, aka winter funk, I've decided to make a list of things I can do to help us get ready for Spring, and not feel so sun deprived, and not feel so cooped up in the house!  All of you out there with small children know how hard it can be to feel/be trapped in your home because of bad weather. The kids need to run, they need the sun, they need to be free to play.

"Seasonal affective disorder (also called SAD) is a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. If you're like most people with seasonal affective disorder, your symptoms start in the fall and may continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, seasonal affective disorder causes depression in the spring or early summer.
Treatment for seasonal affective disorder includes light therapy (phototherapy), psychotherapy and medications. Don't brush off that yearly feeling as simply a case of the "winter blues" or a seasonal funk that you have to tough out on your own. Take steps to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the year." -- online article quote from  Mayo Clinical Staff 

Here are some ways to bring "life and sunshine" back into your home!

1. Put on happy music

This may sound silly but for me listening to music while I clean the house, fold laundry, or get ready for the day really does put me in a better mood!

2. Start de-cluttering/organizing

For me, when I start to de-clutter I feel better.  I go room by room and literally make piles for Good Will, Trash, Consignment, or Hand Me Downs...then at the end of the week or month (however long it takes to do the bedrooms) I drop off my items.  This way we get rid of what we don't need and we make room for the next season's items, or birthdays!

3. Drawing/Painting

My children have taught me this one.  Taking time to stop and sit and be creative uses a part of the brain that just brings joy to your system.  My kids talk more while they draw, they sing, they are sometimes silent, but they are always happy.  Many times if I sit down with them and join them I also feel the release of stress.  Find something that forces you to stop, sit, and be creative.  

4. Nature Walk

Even if this is a five minute walk, taking time to let the kids go outside, and get sunshine really does pay off.  We all need the Vitamin D from the sun, we all need the fresh air, no matter how cold, and kids especially need to just run!!! This week I am making time to go to a park to just let the kids run!!!!  Lord willing we will be above 30 degrees!

5. Visit a Museum

There are so many great places to go and learn with kids.  This month we are visiting The Liberty Science Center and The Monmouth Museum.  These are places for fun, learning, and mind play that even adults can benefit from!  Spending the extra money is worth it to get out of the house, explore our world, make new friends, and do something different.

6. Eat Out

Oh, bless your hearts, all you homemakers out there, you need a break in the kitchen every now and again.  Whether it's a trip to Wendy's, or Panera Bread, or Chipolte, sometimes eating a meal out just does wonders for the morale of the family.  Let's face it, we all like to eat out.  And moms and dads love a break from cooking and a break from the clean up.  So go online, print out some coupons or groupons and have a bon apetit!

7. Go someplace new

Going to a new place brings adventure and fun.  Just switching up the normal routine can be the change of pace everyone needs.  We like to library hop.  There are so many great kid libraries in NJ that we go to Matawan, Monmouth, and Old Bridge.  Going someplace new doesn't have to cost money, just do your research and prepare to enjoy.

8. Sing with your kids

We do this all the time in the car.  We sing from the Frozen soundtrack and we all take turns singing the different songs.  Being silly with your kids is one of the best things that they will remember forever.  And you don't need a great voice.  Just use lots of charisma and sing loud!!!

9. Write a list of things you want to do in the Spring

I like this one because as a homeschooler this is great for our writing skills.  Have your kids tell you what places they want to visit or things they want to do when the weather gets warmer.  You will be so surprised to hear their opinions.  Talk to them about the cost of places.  Teach them how to budget money or plan the day (time management).  Make a list and then really try to do the things on the list.  I bet they will come up with some great ideas...my kids can't wait to go to the Turtle Back Zoo, the Jenkinson's Aquarium, and Dorbrook Sprayground!!

10. Encourage someone else/bless another family

I'm sure you  realize that your neighbors are just as tired of this bad weather as you are!  Bake some cookies and bless a family near by.  Buy some popcorn and let them borrow your favorite DVD.  Make cards for the grandparents and mail them out.  Find things to do to bless others because I have found when I stop thinking about how depressed I feel and start thinking of ways to bless or encourage others, suddenly I'm feeling a lot better!


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