Winter Therapy -- Declutter!
With the winter season upon us, and Groundhog Day having just passed, we’re left with a few more weeks of cold and darkness to stare down, coupled with some straggling leftover holiday bills. Sound familiar? Don’t worry, we are all in the same boat. Don’t let winter get you down without a fight. Knowing that spring is not too far off, we’ve got some great tips to utilize your energy, helping you to combat the winter doldrums right in your own home.

1. Clean your windows and curtains
Most of the difficulties brought on by a severe form of winter blues, called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), stem from a lack of light. It makes sense that one of the top ways to combat the winter blues is to get more light.
Whether you live in a place with a drastic reduction in daylight hours or find yourself affected by even a subtle change, maximizing the light you do receive in your house is the first step to enjoying as much sunlight as you can.

Cleaning your window dressings and windows will not only make you want to throw open your shades, but will also allow every one of those healing rays into your home. Start by taking down your curtains and washing them if you can. Otherwise, vacuum them. Steaming them can also freshen them up. Dust any blinds. Finally, clean your window panes, at least the inside, and the outside as well, weather permitting.

2. De-clutter your pantry and fridge
Another common effect of winter blues is that we crave sweets and other carb-laden, comfort foods. Cinnamon rolls and melty mac-and-cheese, anyone? Indulging in such cravings, combined with a lack of exercise during cold months, can lead to significant weight gain. While these kinds of foods may temporarily make us feel cozy and comforted, they end up causing sugar crashes and the weight gain that occurs with SAD.

Organizing the places where you store your food will set you up for success when it comes to choosing foods that will boost your mood in a healthful and long-lasting way. You could start by packing up leftover holiday treats and giving them away. Then clean out your fridge and pantry. Stock up on feel-good foods like bananas, nuts, Goji berries, eggs, and salmon. Incorporate items into your meal plans and keep snack foods at eye-level so you remember to reach for them when you turn to food for solace.

Oh, and don’t forget the chocolate. The Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science says, “Chocolate has a strong effect on mood, generally increasing pleasant feelings and reducing tension.”

3. Just tidy up any spot that stresses you out
You can boost your mood just by identifying a particular spot of clutter as a stressor and clearing it out of the way. Yes, your environment has an impact on your mood. Piles of mail and counters filled with clutter contribute to overwhelm and fatigue. A nice, neat space can be surprisingly helpful when you’re feeling down. If you’re lacking the motivation and energy to clean, just spend five minutes tidying up to get started.

Sounds simple, right? With this in mind, pick one spot that stresses you out (for me, that would usually be my desk, the kitchen counters or the mudroom), and spend some concentrated time cleaning it up to pick yourself up until spring.


*Portions of article reprinted from: