The January Blues is a milder form of depression often referred to as “Cabin Fever”. You and your child may begin to feel trapped inside your home – no matter how lovely it is. You dream of summer beaches, picnics, cook-outs, fishing, and spending time with your family. Guess what? You can do all those things in the winter, too! The main cause of January Blues (If you live in the northern hemisphere) is a lack of sunlight.
I always wonder at people who hate the winter but live where it snows. Seems to me they have two choices: Move someplace warmer, or learn to enjoy the snow. To continue to live where you are unhappy should not even be an option! For your own mental health, and that of your family, do something about this today. This article and the next will help you learn ways to break the chains that imprison you.
Get Outside and Enjoy the Weather
The first rule to enjoying winter is to dress warmly. You cannot enjoy yourself if you are shivering. I covered the importance of long underwear and layering in an earlier article, Getting Ready for Winter. Another tip is to try to stay dry. As soon as your clothing gets wet, you can get chilled. So don’t sit directly on the snow. Sit on a plastic sled or tarp, unless your stay outside will be brief.
The second rule is to get a minimum of 20 minutes of sunshine on as much skin as you can bare, daily, which seems to contrast with rule number 1. You do not want to get chilled, but if it’s not windy and you can take off your hat, scarf or mittens for a little bit, do so. Lift your face to the sun. Go outside at noon, when the sun is brightest – which is the opposite of summer warnings, when you need to avoid the sun’s more direct damaging rays. I was very fortunate in one home to have an inner atrium that was completely protected on four sides. It was a small space – about fourteen feet square – that was exposed to the sun but not the wind. I could sit out there in a swimming suit at noon in February! At least, some of the time. I don’t know why more homes aren’t built like that, other than the fact it was terribly inefficient to heat.
Take Your Child Sledding
Picnics Are Great in the Winter Too
Take Up a Winter Sport As a Family
Discuss the possibilities in your area, and chose at least one as a family. There is a lot to chose from, including ice skating, snowboarding, cross-country or downhill skiing, mushing, snow shoeing, ice fishing, and winter camping. If its skating, get everyone skates. Once a week, minimum, head out to the skating rink together and practice. You can read picture books to your youngsters about ice skating. Watch skating movies. Get yourself a cute little skating outfit. Enjoy it!
Continue Your Summer Sports Training with a Club Membership
If you have a summer sport you really enjoy, such as cycling or swimming, you can keep that up, thanks to the spread of indoor gym facilities. We recently joined the YMCA in our city, which is very reasonably priced. They have swimming lessons all winter long, and plenty of open-swim times so we can practice between lessons. There are cycling classes, badminton classes, even family karate classes. The benefit to training all winter long, is that you’ll be in shape to enjoy your summer sport that much more once the snow melts.
Air Out Your Home Frequently
We make our homes air-tight to save on heating costs in the winter, but that can lead to poor indoor air quality. Periodically open a window for a bit to bring in fresh air. Vacuum often, replace furnace filters, wash sheets and bedding at least once a week and use dust mite covers, air out or clean mold-prone areas of the home, and keep plenty of houseplants. Not only will they freshen the air, but they might give you an emotional boost as well with their fresh, spring-like colors.
Take a Vacation Someplace Warm
If your blues get really bad, or happen every year about the same time, you might consider making a vacation to a sunny beach part of your family tradition. Whether you chose a condo in Miami, or a local motel with a heated swimming pool and water slides, do something warm, wet and wonderful together.
Fix Up the Cabin
Finally, if you just have to be stuck inside your “cabin” during the height of cabin fever, then fix it up. Make a change. Paint some walls or rearrange the furniture. Get rid of stuff to create more space. Sew some new curtains. Shampoo the carpets. Hang some new artwork. Anything you can do to spruce up your home will help you to enjoy the time you spend there. And if you’re happy, your entire family will be happier.
Getting Ready for Winter
Ten Snow Day Activities for Children
Ten Rainy Day Activities for Children