Beating the Winter Farm Blues

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


After the chaos of summer and the rush of fall harvest is over, we crave the slower days of winter; curled up in front of a fire with a good book. But once the tinsel and mistletoe is packed away and the groundhog reminds us we have a long way to go, cold days start to close in on us.

Don’t despair. With a dash of freshness you can shake off that cabin fever feeling. Try a few of our tips for beating the winter blues and savoring the slower weeks that lead us to the promise of spring:

1. Create some needed breathing space by decluttering, donating, freecycling or selling off old or unused stuff. You’ll feel ten pounds lighter instantly. Areas that could probably use a do-over: kitchen drawers, bathroom cabinets, clothing closets.

2. Winter is a great time to revive UFO’s (Un-Finished Objects). Projects that have been floating around for a while, things you started with good intentions and never had time to finish. To keep from getting overwhelmed, pick one project to complete each week.

3. Use farming’s off-season to re-inspire yourself and learn new skills. Read books, magazines or blogs about people who are living a simpler homesteading life. Research whether adding a new variety of animal or crop to your homestead is a good idea. Learn how other farmers have done it and gather resources that will help you decide.

4. Plan a Girl’s Night In. Invite friends and neighbors for a round of cards or other games. Or, have a cooking party to share favorite treats or discover new ones.

5. Treat yourself to a little pampering with a full body exfoliation before gardening season imbeds soil back under your nails. Try a homemade sugar scrub and relish the softness, a frugal alternative to pricey spa treatments.

Mix the following ingredients until they resemble a paste:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup almond, safflower or sesame oil
1 T. honey
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

While in the shower, massage the entire scrub in gentle circular motions from your shoulders to your feet, focusing on dry areas such as hands and heels. Rinse with warm water, using a little soap to wash off the oil. Dry off and moisturize.

6. Bring the outside in by hanging birdfeeders outside windows. The beautiful colors and zest for life will lift your spirits.

7. When outside weather permits take to the woods on a long walk. Look at your surroundings differently; hear what the world is supposed to sound like without lawnmowers or chainsaws. Savor the quiet and calm. The weather may be different, but you’ll still get a little shot of energy. Try a winter sport like cross-country skiing or snow-showing.

8. When it’s not too cold, open a window and let the smell of winter freshen your home.

9. Begin planning your garden and when the time is right, start some seeds in a sunny window

10. A few fresh ideas will go a long way in the dead of winter. Shake off the blahs with a trip to the library or local bookstore. Grab a hot drink and enjoy perusing periodicals and books on topics that interest you.

11. Use these quiet days to learn a new hobby like knitting, quilting, or baking. The uninterrupted time will give you loads of practice.

12. Keep up with exercise. It will improve your mood and help ward off depression.

13. Take care of yourself with a balanced diet of as many fresh items as possible. Try to stay away from overloading on carbs as they will turn into sugar and eventually pounds. And, don’t forget foods high in vitamin C to help ward off colds.

14. Stay connected with family and friends through the internet or by phone. It will make you feel less isolated.

15. Embrace the season. Even with the weather, winter has so much to offer – from new perspectives to the promise of a new year, finding your joy in the season can go a long way to lifting your spirits.

Challenge yourself to pick a few new ideas that interest you – new recipes, gardening techniques, building skills or travel destinations and bust out from the winter blahs.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Swiv

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