I don't know about you but I was really bummed to find out that we had enough snow on the ground for the kids to have a 2 hour delay yesterday. More snow is coming. BOO!!
In the past four years of residency February and March are always the hardest months of the year. Part of this has to do with how Bret's schedule has fallen (partly through his own doing and partly out of his hands for things like other resident's maternity leave) with his hardest rotations front loaded in the winter and his great rotations saved for spring and summer. Including this upcoming weekend Bret only has 4 weekend calls left. EVER!
Here are our top five tips for beating the winter blues and getting through to spring and warmer weather.
5. Recognize the blues. Sometimes when I feel really blue and can't figure out why remembering that it is February makes me feel a little better. Just knowing that the month is rough and that it will end soon makes things not feel so bad. It also motivates me to put some of our other tips in place and try harder to avoid getting stuck in a low rut.
4. Schedule. Things like family game night, family movie night, and date nights have never been more important. It gives you a positive focus to put your energy into. The kids seem to feel like they are bouncing off the walls more than ever but knowing that on Wednesday night this week we are going to have sloppy joes and family game night gives them something to look forward to the whole week and talk about the rest of the week. Pizza, PJ's, and a movie on a low key Friday night gives all of us a chance to relax and doesn't cost a lot of money. Date night is one of the most important tips for Bret and I to get through these two months. It keeps us from snapping at each other when we are completely drained because it allows us to replenish our relationship. Simple dates like going to eat sushi and a movie, playing bingo, going out for drinks with some of our kidless friends, or even a quick trip to the casinos lifts our moods and helps us get through another week.
3. Celebrate the Season. Attitude is everything and instead of thinking of this last snow as a disappointment I try and think of it as a last chance for the year to have a snowman building contest, quick sledding trip, an excuse to have cocoa, and some cozy soup. We also try and spend our weekends doing "indoor" activities that don't sound as exciting and fun when we can be in the pool over the summer. We visit museums, aquariums, go to the theatre, ice skating, and other indoor happenings in town such as the pet expo or trade shows.
2. Stay Active. In my family we are all much more naturally active during great weather. Whether we are swimming, playing soccer, or going for long walks we spend every second outside during the summer that we can and what we do outside naturally is more active. When the weather is crummy we naturally spend the time inside doing inside activities. In our tight apartment running is not feasible. Going to the gym has really saved me year after year. Just that one hour makes me mentally and physically feel so much better. For the kids we try and take them as often as possible to indoor agility set play areas, swimming indoors, and anything else we can come up with that will allow them to run off some energy. Unless the weather is really really bad we also still try and stick to a short walk outside everyday. Just getting outside even if you have to really bundle up makes you feel so much better even if it is only for 20 minutes.
1. Plan something to look forward to. This can be big or small. Over the years this has been anything from a family member from KS coming to visit, a planned trip to KS, or a mini vacation. Nothing makes the days fly faster than when you have something coming up to look forward to. We print a calendar for the kids and give them stickers to help count the days down when their grandparents are coming to see them or when we are going to a conference for Bret's work. A weekend away to an indoor waterpark or even just a hotel stay out of town can lift everyone's spirits just thinking about it coming. The first year we were here for Bret's birthday we took at day trip to Atlantic City and he signed up to be a player club member (it's free). They started sending us coupon and special each month that included free hotel nights as long as it wasn't on Friday or Saturday night. We would leave post call one day and take a vacation day the next and spend the night in a very posh hotel for free. Bret would hit the casino (I might have hit a couple slots too) while the kids spend hours in the amazing indoor pool. It's a cheap couple nights away but so much fun. This year we desperately needed a relaxing vacation so we booked tickets to go to Colorado. We are going to spend a few great nights staying in Bret's parents' cabin and we can't wait.
What tips helps you get through the winter blues?