February is winding down. For those of us in the Great Lakes region, that doesn’t mean much, though – we could still have another month or so of cruddy weather rife with dirty, melting snow, rain, cold rain, and freezing rain. Usually green, budding spring doesn’t really kick in here until at least April – sometimes not until late in April.
If you’re like me, unpredictable late-winter weather can equal obsessing over temperatures, wondering when we’ll be able to lose the jackets already, and dealing with whiny kids who desperately want to go play at the park – but can’t because it’s under a foot of mud. How to get past the funk? Here are some ideas:
Bring Sunlight In.
Open the curtains, let up the shades and bathe your house in as much of that pre-spring sunlight as you possibly can. For cloudy and rainy days, consider full-spectrum lightbulbs throughout the house. They’re more reminiscent of sunlight and have even been shown to reduce depression.
I’ve got my eye on the Philips Wake-up light, which gradually fills your bedroom with soft light 30 minutes before your chosen waking time to mimic the sunrise. Since my least favorite part of getting out of bed is facing a dark room and then flipping on a glaring light, I know it will help me face the day with more energy.
Go Somewhere Warm.
Sometimes you just really need to soak yourself in balmy heat. If a trip to the tropics isn’t in the budget, look for these hot spots in your area:
- A hot house or conservatory
- An indoor water park – preferably one with a hot tub
- The local indoor pool – you don’t have to get in the water, just walk into the room. Any mom whose kids have taken swimming lessons can tell you it’s HOT in there.
- The steam room or sauna at your local health club or YMCA
- If all else fails, run your shower for a while to turn your own bathroom into a steam room. Splash a few drops of lavender essential oil into the tub to create a more spa-like experience. If your bathroom, like mine, looks nothing like a spa, light some candles and shut off the lights!
Improve The Indoors.
It’s so tempting to look forward to how awesome life will be in summer, but the reality is we’ve still got a few months to go before we’ll be enjoying long, sunny days, trips to the beach and nightly barbecues. Unfortunately, after being stuck inside for much of the last three or four months, it’s not always easy to stay enthused about spending long days inside your house. Consider bringing in accessories and natural elements to brighten and spring-i-fy your space, like colorful throw pillows, pussy-willow branches, or even pastel dish towels. This is also a great time of year to jazz up your nightly meal-preparation routine: maybe listen to some new music or podcasts while you cook, or experiment with different spices or new dishes.
Bonus tip: Let the kids go nuts. Bundle ‘em up and let them go outside even if they will get muddy. Encourage living-room wrestling and sock-sliding on the kitchen floor. Remember that they’re full of pent-up energy right now, too, and need a way to let it out. You’ll all be a lot happier if they do.
Fear not – before we know it, the dismal late weather will be only a memory, and we’ll be complaining about the sun and heat. I think I’ll bookmark this post right now as a reminder to appreciate what I’ve got!