Are you currently affected by the February blahs? Do you just want to snuggle under a blanket and send the world away? Has your writing suffered because you simply have no energy to pick up a pen or apply your fingers to keyboard, let alone generate new ideas?
If this sounds all too familiar, you’re not alone. Over the past few weeks I’ve had a bad case of the February blahs, and several of my friends have too. I’ve seen references to this state on people’s blogs and websites, and on Facebook. We’re all ready for this very challenging winter to be over – but know it will still cling on for at least another month or more.
For some people, going away to a warm and sunny place can be the right antidote. But what if that just isn’t an option for you at this time? Nurturing yourself in your home environment may be the answer. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- make sure that you are meeting your body’s basic needs for good health, including at least eight hours of sleep each night (ideally being in bed by 10:00 pm.) and regular exercise. Consider walking or running on an indoor track when the sidewalks are icy or the temperature plummets to nose-numbing depths
- indulge in healthy comfort foods like a Strawberry Banana Smoothie. CLICK HERE for the recipe.
- eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Homemade soups and stews are great dishes to make in large batches for days when you don’t feel much like cooking. Here’s a recipe link for: Eastern European Red Lentil Soup
- plan an interesting day trip with friends – if you live near Toronto, why not organize a trip around a visit to the Royal Ontario Museum or the Art Gallery of Ontario. You’ll enjoy the company of others, and be stimulated by what you learn and experience
- host a dinner party. Invite your friends, especially writing friends who may also be dealing with the “blahs.” Make the gathering a potluck affair, or order in and share the cost. Being with other people is stimulating and inspiring. You may want to include a group writing exercise
- take a warm bubble bath, scented with natural essential oils. Play some soft music and add a beeswax candle to create the perfect, soul-soothing environment
- watch a funny or a sappy movie and have a good laugh/cry – just releasing your emotions in a healthy way can help to make you feel better
- bring fresh flowers into your home. Their colour, scent and energy will lift your spirits.
- play music that you love and dance. You can find just about any type of music on YouTube. Choose pieces with a distinctive beat that encourages you to move. When you’re finished dancing, you’ll probably feel refreshed and renewed
- write about how you feel in your journal. Many health professionals, such as Dr. James Pennebaker, believe that journalling can have therapeutic effects. Click HERE to read more about his work on writing to heal
- do something for someone else – call a friend or relative you haven’t been in touch with for a while, volunteer locally, bring flowers to someone who doesn’t have many visitors
And what about your writing? Chances are, by experimenting with some of these suggestions, you will feel a bit more motivated to get back to your writing. But if you still feel stuck, unless you have a tight deadline to meet, consider taking a short break. Rather than beating yourself up for not writing, this may be a time when you need to focus on nurturing yourself.
I hope you find these suggestions useful. How do you nurture yourself when you experience the February blahs?
Until next time,
Our next writing retreat will take place on Sunday, March 23, 2014. We hope you can join us.
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All photographs, drawings and artwork in this post are by Janis McCallen