The Groundhog didn’t see his shadow. The reporters said that spring was coming, and here I am, snowed in on a Sabbath morning. I think I’m disappointed because I placed my faith in men and a furry celebrity critter named Phil. What I should always count on is what God has put in place–spring, summer, fall, winter. In Missouri the lines between seasons can blur a bit, but I can rest in the assurance that spring is coming. It will come. In the meantime, here are some tips to uplift your weather-weary heart and improve your mood for these last bleak weeks of winter.

  1. Get Outside
    Go outside–even when the ground is froze, when snow crunches under your feet, and when the temp is freezing. Plan a walk around the block or drive to a local park. Walk your dog. It doesn’t have to be a long walk to get the sunshine you need (10 to 15 minutes of  unprotected sun exposure per day).
  2. Take Pictures
    Look for beautiful and remarkable things. One of the worst things about winter are those cold, grey days with no snow and no beauty. I’m here to tell you there is beauty! Snap pictures of the squirrels you see, the spring flowers that are breaking ground, the clouds, the leafless tree. Find something picture-worthy.
  3. Eat Well
    We all gain a few extra pounds during winter because we’re generally less active. Part of winter weight gain is also our mood. We’re stuck indoors and want to feel cozy, so we reach for our comfort foods. Try and balance your diet  during these last few weeks of winter. Pay attention to how much refined sugars and processes carb products you’re eating. These will not only pack on the weight, but also cause mood swings.
  4. Open the Curtains
    Natural light is great for your body, your mind, and your mood. When the windows are open, you may even notice that the children in the house have a different attitude. Sit next to the window and read in the sunlight. Whatever activity you usually do, move your body closer to the window and do it.
  5. Go on a Trip
    It can be a day trip or a vacation, but packing your bags and hitting the road is a great way to lift a mood. Look for great activities in your area, whether outdoors or in. Drive so that you see the sights and don’t wear sunglasses unless you have to. Exposure to natural light is great for the mood.
  6. Stay Warm
    Your winter experience will be better when your living space and vehicle are properly heated. You can also invest in some cozy comforts that will keep you warm on the coldest nights. My favorites are a fluffy robe, house socks, an oversized sweatshirt (that was my Granny’s), and a stocking hat with a cheshire cat on it. Your favorites may differ from mine. Maybe your idea of staying warm is building a crackling fire and wrapping up in a blanket.
  7. Foster a Pet
    Pets are a sure-fire way to improve a mood. They’ll give you furry snuggles, get you outdoors, and bring love and warmth to the home. However, not everyone wants the responsibility of a pet. You can foster pets for others! Contact your local rescues and animal shelters to fill out an application to foster pets when they are overcrowded or when a pet needs more attention than they can provide.
  8. Get Creative
    Buy a coloring book or journal and get creative! You can walk into a book store and find journals with a prompt for every single day. Finding your creativity is good for your mind, your mood, and helps you to get to know yourself.
  9. Put Down the Phone
    Your phone is great for keeping in touch with others, but it’s not great for your mood. Take a few hours each day and shut it off and put it away. Like your laptop or desktop computer, it’s actually good for the phone to be shut off each day.
  10. Read Scripture
    Look to the Bible for comfort and joy. Here are 100 verses about nature to get you started.