Archived Story

Enjoy your winter indoors

Published 8:28pm Tuesday, January 24, 2012

“Winter Blues,” “Cabin Fever,” or whatever else you may call it, mild depression is a normal reaction to the colder temperatures and longer periods of darkness during winter. It is also normal to feel a little down after the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Although some people feel winter is just a time to “endure” and wait out the dreary days, I feel the cold winter days are filled with opportunities. I didn’t always feel this way. Of course when I was young I lived in Southeast Missouri and winter was a time for a possibility of snow and wonderful “snow days.” Even after I married and had children of my own, winter still held a certain appeal.

However, after we moved to northern Indiana — 10 miles from the Michigan state line – snow and winter lost it’s appeal. We had snow on the ground several months out of the year. In fact, the first year we lived there the first snow fell before Halloween. Our last snow fell in mid-March. I thought I was going to go nuts! In my mind snow was supposed to melt! You might get more, but you were supposed to see the grass (even if it was brown) in-between the snow falls. Obviously, I had some adjustments to make. I decided I could look at winter as a prison or an opportunity. I choose opportunity.

Here’s a short list of “opportunities.”

1. How about sorting all those pictures you have stored? This is a great time to put together scrapbooks for other family members out of extra pictures you’re not sure what to do with, but don’t want to throw away. Scrapbooking has become incredibly popular and there are many stores that specialize in it and some even offer classes with super creative ideas for using those pictures! You can even scan pictures into your computer and make scrapbooks online!

2. How about taking a class to learn a new hobby or just learn something you’ve always wanted to know about? (The afore mentioned scrapbooking might be one)

3. Are you wanting to do a yard sale in spring? If you start now you can carefully label everything making it more appealing and easier for shoppers meaning more profit for you.

4. How about painting the inside of your house? I know many people wait till spring for this, but I prefer to do it in winter. By the time spring comes, I often have a many other things that I need to do, like my children’s sports activites.

5. Are you feeling lonely? I guarantee you someone else is too. Check with your church, hospitals, or other associations that work with the homebound and see who can’t get out. Take them some lunch and companionship, you’ll both feel better.

6. Are you the one who can’t get out? How about writing a letter of encouragement to a foreign missionary? Most churches have lists of names and addresses for missionaries. You’ll both be blessed.

7. Do you have a skill to share? Talk to the civic center about teaching a class.

8. Ok Grandmas and Grandpas out there, I have something for you to do. Write short stories about things that happened to you growing up. All children like to hear stories, and they’re even more interesting if it’s about someone you love. Some of my favorite memories are those of my grandparents and parents telling me about things that happened to them when they were young.

9. Grandparents how about a family history. Just things like YOUR grandparents’ names and as much as you know about where your family came from is important to your grandchildren.

10. How about volunteering? Places that might need volunteers are The Caring Place, Hospitals, Churches, Library, and schools.

11. Do you love animals? Check with the animal shelters in the area and see if they need any help. It can be a very dirty job, but those warm puppy eyes and soft fur can be very rewarding.

12. Get a jump start on your spring cleaning. Now is the perfect time to clean above doorframes, clean the interior doors, wipe down baseboards, etc.

13. Throw a winter fest party. Call up some friends and watch a favorite movie or two or three or whatever. . . You get the idea.

14. Are the kids getting a bit of cabin fever, too? Find a craft to share with them. Family Fun.go.com has some great ideas.

15. Need to get you and the kids out of the house? Look at area museums. This site has some wonderful links: www.thingstodo.com/states/AL/index.htm

If you’re constantly feeling depressed or sad, see your doctor and make sure there isn’t a medical problem that needs to be treated. If it’s just a case of the “winter blahs” then my suggestion is to get busy. Time passes faster when you’re having fun. Enjoy your winter!

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