Guys, I’ve had a rough few days.
I’m not a huge fan of winter in general, after Christmas excitement wears off and life gets back to normal. And this January has been particularly cold and gray – oh, so very, very gray.
Add to that a housebound weekend topped off by a particularly difficult episode of Downton Abbey (don’t laugh!), and you’re looking at a perfect recipe for Mom Funk: The Winter Edition.
But just because I’ve been a little down doesn’t mean I have to stay there, right? As I pointed out in my previous “Mom Funk” post, occasional blue periods are normal, and they don’t define me as a person or a mother.
Best yet, Mom Funks can be turned around. Here are three simple ways I’m working on reversing my current funk and getting my spirits up:
1) Indulge in healthy, comforting rituals.
Going to the gym to work up a sweat – and maybe hitting the steam room afterward as a reward? A healthy ritual. Savoring an extra cup of hot tea before the kids get up in the morning? A comforting ritual.
Too much wine, a Target spree, a chocolate gorge, or a run through the drive-thru to stuff down the sad (or the SAD) with French fries? Definitely not healthy, and not even particularly comforting when you consider indigestion, headaches and a blown budget.
This time of year, it’s so tempting to ride off the rails sipping, shopping and snarfing in search of a good feeling, but in the end, it really feels best when we take care of ourselves. That means keeping all those guilty pleasures to a minimum and finding other, healthier ways to get a natural buzz.
2) Create a new narrative.
Today I realized how many times over the last few days I’ve said something along these lines: “WHY do I live in this state again?” “Ugh, these gray skies are KILLING me” and “I gotta get out of here!” And it’s just not very helpful to remind myself daily of how much I hate about the current weather.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s cathartic to wallow a little, and letting myself feel gloomy and glum for a few days can be an effective way of getting it out of my system so I can get back to the business of living.
But as with anything else, at some point, perception becomes reality and we all have the opportunity to write our own stories. In that spirit, I’m trying to remind myself of some of the positives of winter: tall boots, cuddling under soft blankets with a good book, and no fruit flies.
3) Embrace (and improve!) reality.
I’m almost embarrassed to admit that last Friday, I shrugged off any possibility of productivity and spent almost the entire day searching online for travel deals to some warm, exotic locale.
After hours of clicking, reality finally set in: no, there aren’t any $60 round-trip airplane fares to tropical locations in February; no, we don’t have an on-call nanny who will come take our kids for the weekend for free just because she’s nice like that; and no, neither our babysitting nor budget realities would allow for us to fly off to the Caribbean for a 48-hour soak in the sun.
However, that doesn’t mean I’m doomed to another weekend spent indoors wishing I was a native Californian. Right now, my reality simply does not consist of vacations in warm locales, but what about all the great things we can do in our actual lives?
Instead of wasting time wishing for something that isn’t going to happen, I decided it was time to embrace reality. And not just embrace it, but also look for ways to make it better, more special, and more fun.
To start, we’re planning a family ski trip to Grand Geneva this weekend: it’s something fun we can do as a family; it’s only a three-hour drive away, and it’s decidedly more affordable than heading off on a tropical vacation.
“Um, hey,” you’re saying; “A ski weekend isn’t in the cards for me.” I hear you! There are definitely things we all can do to embrace and improve reality…while staying close to home.
Some ideas I’m considering: rearrange the furniture in my bedroom, paint that end table I picked up at an estate sale a year ago, order seeds and start them indoors…or if I’m feeling really ambitious, I could decide to celebrate Valentine’s Day big this year, rather than pretty much blowing it off like I usually do.
Hopefully within a few days of putting some of these ideas into action, I’ll have moved past my funk and will be ready to ride out the rest of the winter with a positive attitude.
Have you been struggling with a weather- or life- related funk lately? Could indulging in healthy, comforting rituals, writing a new narrative, or embracing and bettering reality help you?
*Warning! It’s very possible my comments section will be overtaken by Downton Abbey Season 3, Episode 4 spoilers, so if you haven’t seen it, be forewarned! Also, if you have seen more of Season 3, I ask that you please refrain from sharing spoilers from episodes beyond #4 so that those of us watching in the States in real-time can enjoy the mystery.