10 Ways to Beat the Winter Blahs (Part I)

We've had a lot of grey and icky weather over here lately. Combine that with post-holiday blahs and a winter that seemed long even before December ended, and it's easy to let complacency or cabin fever take over.

In an effort of self-preservation, I've compiled ten simple ways to help beat the winter blahs. Voici, the first five, in case you're feeling the same way:

1. Make one day a week “New Recipe Day."

January is often a popular time of year to get into healthy eating habits. Whether you're trying to get back to where you were before the holidays or turning over a new leaf, why not make it fun by trying something new? Set a theme (Snazzy Soups, Warm Climate Wishes, Make it Green...) or keep it open. A one-day break out of a food rut can go a long way. It doesn't matter if the recipe sucked, it's the culinary adventure that counts!

 a new soup experiment last year resulted in a new favourite for this year (see the recipe  here )

a new soup experiment last year resulted in a new favourite for this year (see the recipe here)

2. Light it up.

Lighting. Christmas lights, twinkle lights, candlelight... I'm a sucker for lighting. When it starts to feel gloomy I start turning on my lamps. Lunch and dinner are often accompanied by candlelight. How could you make your space a little warmer and brighter?

3. Break out the tunes.

There are so many online radio stations out there that it's easy to find something for every mood and taste. Cooking something spicy for New Recipe Day? How about finding some music that'll warm you (and maybe your dinner guest) up? Or maybe you're in the mood for the hair bands that saw you through your teens, or a little James Brown to get your groove on? Find something new, try something that's outside of your usual go-to stations and bust a move.

4. Try saying YES.

If you're thinking about doing something out of your normal routine, but are on the fence, try saying yes.* Last week my husband and I took a drive out to the country on a school night in search of a promised out-of-this-world show of northern lights. Unfortunately the northern lights were a dud, but we gained a wee sense of adventure just by getting out with the hopes of finding them. That and we left the house after 10pm on a Thursday night, which is well worth a high-five in our books! Us: 1. Complacency: 0.

* Disclaimer: Um, just so we're clear, I'm not condoning anything potentially harmful or not cool here, m'kay?

5. Plan something social.

Host a games or movie night. Convince your colleagues to go out for lunch or coffee. See a movie with friends or organize a coffee shop crawl. If you're really brave, invite some friends over on New Recipe Day. If you're all "socialed" out after the holidays you might want to skip this one for now, but if you're ready, by all means send out the invitations!

~~~

I've tried four out of five of these so far and they did make a difference. The blahs can be a tricky beast, but there are ways to beat them. Oh and go ahead, pull out that Def Leppard CD, I know you wanna.

Part II, coming soon...