Friday, February 28, 2014

A change in attitude, if not weather.

I realize that it’s time to stop hibernating and get on with my life, in spite of what Punxsutawney Phil had to say this year.

It’s been two months since the New Year! For those of us living in the northeast, the holiday season has faded into a cold and seemingly endless winter, without the benefit of being able to look forward to additional holiday festivities. As a result, I've been in kind of a funk lately as I muddle through this extended winter season.
In addition to battling cabin fever, mountains of winter snow have made me feel lethargic and unmotivated during the past several weeks. Hibernacting, though at times a great comfort, is not the best strategy for cultivating inner poise or refinement. I have a tendency to look like (and sometimes become) a bit of a bum when I'm stuck at home for too long, mainly because if I'm home for a while I’m not expecting to see anyone, or I’m doing some messy housework and don't want to sweat or spill on my nice clothes. And although a snow day can be a wonderful break in routine, we've had enough of them this year that they're not quite so exciting or comfortable anymore. Rather, the winter weather has been enabling my lazier habits and everything feels cramped, stuffy, and tiresome.
As much as I’d love a vacation, that’s simply not an option right now because of work and other obligations. But, even more pressing, I realize that my favorite destinations—in Europe—are known for having even worse winters! So, I realize that it’s time for me to take a cue from those stiff-upper-lipped Europeans, and simply get on with my life, regardless of the weather.
It's up to me to rearrange my winter attitude and environment to become a productive and supporting scene. If I can’t change the weather, I can at least make some improvements to my home space that will hopefully reflect a more positive outlook. Below is my list of my ideas for re-energizing this winter.

  • Dress nicely, even if staying at home. I'm not suggesting that one should start wearing heels and pearls around the house (although, why not?), but I must acknowledge that it's time (for me, anyway) to put the yoga pants and stained hoodies away. Really, enough is enough. Rather than being in a cozy outfit for a winter day, I am simply just regressing to being a slob.
  • Try to make the home environment more stimulating. Lively music! Fold and put away the tempting blankets and throw pillows! Open up the curtains and blinds, and even open a window for a brief period of time! I read on The Quiet Home that one way the author likes to cheery up her home environment on a rainy day is to put in a load of laundry. Hearing the washing machine makes a home seem productive, rather than dreary. I've started doing this on rainy days, and I find it to be a comforting sound of activity and progress. I should implement this on my many snow days, as well.
  • Open the windows. Even if it’s just for a little bit, a home should certainly be aired out after a few weeks. Turn the furnace down and open a window or two, even if it’s freezing outside. It will literally be a breath of fresh air! Plus, the chill in the air will help liven things up for both human and animal residents.
  • Call someone. A drawback to being stuck and home is that your usual contact with the outside world can be shut off. Social interactions with coworkers aren’t happening, so after being without social interaction for a while, one can start feeling lonely or depressed. A good conversation with a friend or friendly family member can make you feel more energized and alert. Having something new to think about is a wonderful change of pace.
  • Drink water with lemon. Drinking something cool and summery, like ice water with a splash of citrus, can make one feel more alert, especially if dehydration is causing the feelings of lethargy. Comforting drinks like tea, coffee, or alcohol can be dehydrating. (Nothing says snow day like a glass of wine at 11 a.m.!) But, a glass of iced tea or cold water makes me feel energized and refreshed.
Although there is another possible winter storm on the way this weekend, I am hoping that I can keep a chic (not slobby) state of mind, regardless of the forecast. Changing a few things at home can be a great first step toward creating a more supportive and productive environment. At the very least, it’s something to do while waiting for spring.

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