02/12/2015 09:05 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

6 Ways to Beat the Winter Blahs

Alison Hodgson, Houzz Contributor

Remember back in July and August when we were all, "Summer! Ugh! It's so hot and sticky and dusty and cluttered up with towels and beach bags! Blech!"

Summer, on behalf of all of us, I'd like to say how deeply, truly and unimaginably sorry we are.

I guess there's no pleasing some of us, because here it is, the midst of February, a time that tries many of our souls for altogether different reasons.

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Sure, back in December we were all, "Ooh, winter's so cozy! Isn't snow pretty?" Drinking our hot chocolate and pulling on our favorite scarves.

And now many of us are leering around corners when we're not typing, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Even though our name isn't even Jack. And we don't own a typewriter.

I think we all know it's a bad sign when we find ourselves emulating a character of Stephen King's. So what are we to do?

1. Spiff up the joint. In other words: clean. I'm sorry. Whenever I find myself scratching my eyes and despairing about life in general, I know it's time to grab the broom and a dust cloth.

Life is better when the house is clean. Again, I'm sorry, but it's true.

2. Take a bath. We all don't have a bathroom with a tub or a view like this, and you may not be a bath-taking person anyway, but this is February, people, and we need to try new things. Run a hot tub; if you have salts or bubble bath, pour them in, give yourself a good soak and let the stress roll away.

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3. Snuggle in. Winter is such a good time for getting cozy and cuddly. Life is made up of small rituals and simple pleasures. This winter I made of point of buying a few throw blankets and placed a large basket under our side table in the living room. Last night as the opening credits for Downton Abbey rolled, I pulled out the throws and got myself all comfy-cozy in a corner of our sofa.

4. Get outside. You don't have to be into downhill or cross-country skiing to enjoy the winter outdoors. Try snowshoeing or find a cleared path and take a (careful) walk. Just standing in your yard and pausing a moment to breath the fresh, cold air will help.

5. Have a warm drink. Again it's the small rituals and simple pleasure, whether it's the coffee brewing in the morning or a mug of hot chocolate or tea in the afternoon. Many of us find the need to be abstemious this time of year, which is hard because it's also when we are most in need of small indulgences.

This is a great time to try various teas -- green, herbal or another kind. A favorite in our house is peppermint.

6. Light a candle or two, or 12. For me the lack of light is the hardest aspect of winter. Not much can change that during the day, but there can be a loveliness in the long nights. Candlelight brings beauty to the darkness.


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