Five Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

Do you suffer from the winter blues? Holiday greens? December purples?

Well, I know these cold South Dakota days can bring pesky pessimism my way, and I don’t like it, not one bit. So after reading Kate’s post today, where she shared light-hearted, positive points of the blues, I decided I didn’t want anyone feeling down this season and simply must share my five things that regularly cheer me up here on the farm.

1. Surround yourself with animals. Any animal. The following works for me:

Feed a Bull

South Dakota photography

Kiss a Puppy

South Dakota pup

Taunt a Kitty

South Dakota kitty

A warning: this can be dangerous

2. Put on lipstick

You’re probably thinking, what does lipstick have to do with anything? I have found on days when I have no energy to do anything, simply putting on lipstick lifts my spirits. I wear it while typing, I wear it when walking the dogs. The bolder, the better, I say. Try it, it helps!

South Dakota coffee

Evidence!

3. Dress like you mean it

If you stay home like I do, it’s easy to get into a lazy habit of not …. dressing. So, put on your Sunday best. For instance, right now I am wearing an outfit I haven’t worn in over a year. A little much for a day at home? Probably. But I feel pretty, oh so pretty.

4. Learn something new

Guitar? Piano? Creative writing class? Find something to occupy your hands and mind. I am in the process of learning to knit, and rather than sit on the couch and feel sorry for myself, I sit on the couch and knit and feel sorry for myself. It’s great!

South Dakota knitting

Prayer shawl almost complete!

5. Find excellent (emphasis on excellent) lighting, and take dramatic photos of yourself.

South Dakota photography

Oh I do declare, this wretched of winters has rendered me blue!

Looking at this photo, I can’t help but laugh. I mean, really. How dramatic can my mind be! I know we all have real stuff going on, but this photo reminds me of how easily I lose perspective. Having fun with the camera forces me to not be so serious.

I hope these tips help you in some way this winter.

Most importantly, if you are feeling down, don’t be afraid to talk about it. We’re in this together!

And since we are, why don’t you share what cheers you up? If you’ve posted on this before, share your link!

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70 thoughts on “Five Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

  1. I love how all of your tips have to do with home! It’s home .. being home .. that restores me. I slog through the darkness of the West MI winters but it’s sunny Saturday mornings at home .. with my fuzzy old dog near me, a cup of Tim Hortons coffee in hand and my books and loved ones around… that’s what keeps me going.

    And that dramatic pose? Fantastic!
    -MJ

  2. Oh, my dear, we are on the same wavelength! You will get my post, “The Bright Side Of Blue” in a few minutes–and we have so many of the same thoughts. I love it. We ARE all in this together. Yay. And did you take that shadow photo of the little dog?? It’s fabulous, as is your self portrait. Mine, taken today, is not nearly as good!! Nicely done.
    Best,
    Suzanne

  3. Music helps me beat the blues – whatever music moves me most. Dance at home, dance all around, all by yourself, completely uninhibited. Next thing you know, you’re singing! 🙂

  4. This post is a pick me up. And your picture is fabulous. Very Scarlett O’Hare. Nice knitting, too. Love how you said you can knit and feel sorry for yourself. Funny stuff.
    Thanks for the smiles.

  5. Hey. Don’t hate me but I LOVE winter. I do. I know some people think it’s probably some reverse psychology thing I spew to myself but I really do. My parents loved the snow and the down time winter provided as well and maybe that mind set helped?
    Although, I can say when I was a teenager growing up in North Idaho I hated, HATED the grey day after day after week nonsense. Now? Here in northern Michigan we get a lot of the same and it just feels comforting like a big wool blanket. I think it’s a decision we make…”Do I wanna hate it or embrace it?” You, my friend are doing ALL the right things. Great post!
    p.s. I stay home too and dress up as well once in a while – For the heck of it. Because I can. Because if I don’t said clothing continues to reside on a hanger. One time the Schwan’s delivery man says: “*Where* are you going?” and I replied with glee, “Absolutely no where!”

  6. Great tips to share and I like the ‘Feed a Bull’ the best, in a field next to me there are 6 Limousin cattle, beautiful beasts, whenever I see them my spirits are lifted. But I have a problem with the lipstick one, however I’ll give it a go!

    This time of year here in the middle of France the countryside is golden and when I walk the dog, which I’m just about to I can’t help but feel grateful for the day.

  7. Great post! It cheers me up to get outside and look at all the beautiful lights people have put up for the holidays! Usually in New England at this time of year it’s dreary and cold, but we’ve only had a few days of that. So right now the beautiful sunshine cheers me up — wonderful! And I so agree about surrounding myself with animals — I love that too! My dog cheers me up and I’m especially cheered up when I see horses on nearby horse farms!

  8. Ah, you do me proud in this post!! The prayer shawl looks AMAZING, and even better in the picture of you wearing it! That caption cracked me up, too. So glad you’re finding so many ways to conquer the winter blues – I know this post sure cheered me up! 🙂

  9. Thanks for another cow photo and for echoing my sentiments and giving me new resolve to be more positive in what has been a dreary, cloudy November. I love winter less since becoming a homeowner (it’s more carefree when you’re a kid and the damage snow and ice and melting can do is Mom and Dad’s problem :)) and am not looking forward to the crazy drifts here on Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan shoreline, nor the vertigo effect this weather has on my sinusitis. But winter is here, I’m here, and I need to just deal with it, dammit. 🙂 My sweet little tortie-black indoor cat, still kitten-playful at 2 1/2, is part of what cheers me up, as does emailing silly stuff with a friend and former coworker 40 miles away, watching holiday cartoons and shows from my childhood, getting out of town and driving through the glacier-formed wooded hills and valleys, and enjoying a cup of peppermint mocha. Happy holidays to you!

  10. Three things cheer me up in winter: 1. On really gloomy days I turn on the little lamps in the dark corners. Each 4 watt bulb is backlighting some vignette of favorite things. 2. Got a job that needs doing? Turn up the music! Celtic happens to be my balm. 3. FIX SOMETHING. Does it need painting, is it broken, or needs a facelift??? A job well done keeps you busy and the satisfaction every time you look at it can put a smile on your face that keeps you well into spring! ~ Lynda

  11. Ok, that’s not ‘learning to knit’……you ARE KNITTING!!!!! I only got as far as a few rows, tied them together, attached a button and called it a penny bag! Your shawl is looking amazing!! 🙂 I dressed up the other day and promptly got barfed on, and my lipstick was used to color a birdhouse…oh the joys of Motherhood!

  12. This post is in itself good-cheer-inducing in the extreme. It’s very wise of you to deliberately seek out those things that brighten dark days and embrace them. The puppy-smooching silhouette is simply adorable, the bull handsome in his curly hair; the cat can clearly hold its own in the face of teasing, and you, my dear, are most artful of all in swanning around in your beautifully knitted shawl. More power (wattage) to you!

    PS–in my experience, you really can’t beat Eric Idle’s epic tune ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ (link below) for perking up any moment. After all, it got some epic characters through some epic dark times in the movies, so it *must* work in real life, no?!

  13. totally with you on the whole ‘ surround yourself with animals’ and yesterday my ‘taunt a kitty’ effort was to tie bows of curly Christmas ribbon on all four cats. I tried the dog too but he just howled, and the goats would just eat the ribbon so I didn’t even try with them.
    I’m SO thrilled to see that you’re joining the ranks of us knitters too.
    Have you found Ravelry [ http://www.ravelry.com ] yet ?
    If not, you must … but be careful. Your brain may just melt.
    Have a joyous Christmas.

  14. Love this! And yes, lipstick always makes me feel better…along with all the other suggestions. I’ve done all of them but feed a bull. And now I want to try it. 🙂

  15. I think that if anyone reads your blogs, they feel your a for real person with imperfections and coping strategies and strengths and weaknesses….just like all the rest of us…when you say “we are all in this together” you are credible, believable, valuable to me.

  16. Living in the mountains, I can relate to your long drive, dodging deer and life in the country. It’s amazing how much it slows us down though, which is something to be appreciated. Only wishing I had a couple of cows – I’ve always wanted one as a pet 🙂 Excited to read and follow!!
    <3, Jilly

  17. The winter blues haven’t hit me yet. They seem to come in January after all our visiting with the kids is over and traveling is out of the question for several months because of the iffy-ness of the weather. Then the cold, damp weather and the short days and long months can drag me down, if I let them. You are so right about doing something to control those blues instead of letting them control you. Very nice post.

  18. My instant cheer: 1.) good coffee with real cream and out of a nice mug and not a paper cup, 2.) lipstick (I can’t agree more), 3.) 1950s-60s sitcoms (no reason except I’m a pastophile and certifiably insane), 4.) my two cats and dog (and this sort of does link back to my wretched Animals and Snow essay, doesn’t it?)

  19. I like to leap through the house singing Broadway as badly as I possibly can, so much so that I crack myself up. Turning the stereo up and watching my daughter dance works, too. I agree, though. It’s hard not to mope sometimes. Being cooped up inside makes me very irritable.

  20. haha I have so been there. I knew change was in order when my youngest asked “Mommy where are you going?” simply because I got dressed for the day!!!!

    I also swallow a little sunshine (vitamin D3) in the winter and it does a body good!

  21. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you’re just too fantastic. I really like what you’ve acquired here, really like what you are stating and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it sensible. I cant wait to read much more from you.

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