Changing with the seasons

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Beach in Caseville, MI

I’ve alluded to it before, but the seasons and the weather have a huge effect on my overall mood. In summer, I’m blissful and busy, with regular trips to the beach and abundant sunshine keeping a smile on my face. Once the temperature drops, however, I go into hibernation mode. I have a hard time leaving the house, let alone feeling motivated. At first, I embrace the extra time at home and try to make the most of it, but eventually, I start to feel restless and discouraged in my day-to-day life–like I’m missing out, letting it pass me by.

I was looking forward to March bringing longer days with Daylight Savings (it is nice that it’s still light out now when I leave work!). The trouble is that I was expecting some instantaneous shift–like I’d automatically feel better the second I set the clocks back.

Guess what? I don’t. I dug myself so deep into a hole this winter that I’m having trouble crawling back out. It’s not just this year–it happens every year. Last March, we spent a week in Miami, and it made a HUGE difference in my mood that sustained me the entire month. It just shows how important taking a vacation really is–sometimes all you need is that shift in perspective.

An immediate trip isn’t in the cards (even though I keep looking at travel deals), so how do I channel those vacation vibes when I’m still here at home?

What makes me feel really good about being on vacation? A warm locale certainly helps, but really it’s the careless nature of it all. I get to say “BYE!” to my responsibilities for a few days and prioritize feeling good, disconnecting, and trying new things. It’s an excuse for doing what you really want (why not have the fries and ice cream–I’m on vacation!). Why not do that every day? What makes heading out on a weekend road trip any different from heading home? A change in scenery can have an impact, but ultimately it’s the shift in mindset.

I want to live every day like I’m on vacation.

It isn’t easy, and it takes time, but we’ve got to alleviate some of the burden we place on ourselves. This isn’t a call to abandon your duties, and you shouldn’t just blow off jobs or commitments, but the world is NOT going to end if you don’t submit that TPS report. What we’re capable of varies from day to day, and we should honor that, not inflict punishment.

Find a way each day to bring a little bit of vacation and joy into your life–whether that means wearing bright colors, meeting friends for happy hour, listening to upbeat music, or spending time by yourself. The to-do list never really ends, and we’ve got to release some of the hold it has on us. Make personal satisfaction a priority in your life.

This is something I’ll personally be working on, and I hope you’ll consider it, too. Let’s live it up!

Tell me: Is your mood affected by the seasons? Where did you go on your last vacation? What’s one thing you can do today to feel good?

Hibernation

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I’m not the biggest fan of winter, which in Michigan seems to last at least six months of the year. There was an article ranking each of the states by how brutal their winters are, and Michigan came in second, largely due to the fact that once Daylight Savings hits, we’re enveloped in seemingly never-ending gray skies.

Each year it feels harder to cope, and this year was no exception. January is briefly capped by the motivation of a new year, but it’s hard to push through these first two months. I spent as much of February as possible indoors; in fact, this past weekend was the first in which we left the house. There’s been a lot of couch cuddling, binge watching, and comfort-food eating.

I wish this post were a “top 10 tips for surviving winter” or “best ways to hygge-fy your life,” but the truth is, I haven’t figured it out yet.

Here are some small things that have been helped, though:

1) Endless hot chocolate. If I’m feeling lazy I just mix cocoa powder with some nondairy milk and sweetener (maple syrup, stevia). If I’m prepared, I love this recipe by Tasty Yummies. Either way, it has to be topped with CocoWhip!

2) Cats. It’s impossible to get up or be mad about it when there’s a cat on you (or staring at you).


3) Netflix! Or Hulu, Amazon Prime, or your streaming service of choice. We’ve watched an obscene amount of complete seasons of shows in these past couple months. I did a round up of some of the shows we’ve watched recently here; I’m planning to do another one soon. It’s never been so easy to have an excuse to stay inside.

4) Comfy clothes. I pretty much live in sweats or leggings this time of year. If I’m at home, I’m in pajamas. If I’m not leaving the house, there’s no WAY I’m getting properly dressed. I don’t understand how people can sit around in jeans. Treat yourself to some comfortable sweats or a new blanket and settle in! Bonus points if it features your favorite snacks.

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neapolitan ice cream blanket // tayray10 on Society6

5) Bright colors or greenery. Our house is pretty dark. We have thick curtains and don’t get a lot of natural light. I’ve been wanting to get some plants, but I picked up a small fake cactus from Target recently and it adds a little greenery to the dining room. I also swapped out our fabric shower curtain with a clear one covered in cacti and flowers. It makes me happy, and getting the extra light while I’m getting ready in the morning makes it easier.

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plants shower curtain // target

6) Getting out of the house every now and then. It’s not easy, but you’ll feel better. Go to breakfast or the movies, or finally run those errands you’ve been putting off. Your sweats will still be there when you return home (or wear them out–who cares?).

7) Trying to enjoy this time. Once summer hits, we’re outside as much as possible, whether at the beach, BBQs, or camping. I’m trying to fully savor our “lazy season.” I may hate the cold, but it sure serves as a nice excuse for hibernating. Overindulge a little bit! We’ll all get back to our routines once the sun comes back out.

Tell me: How do you cope with the long winters? Do you prefer warm or cold weather?