As I write this, it is 40 degrees warmer in Anchorage, Alaska than it is in central Pennsylvania. I do not remember a winter when we have had so many below-freezing (and below-zero) temperatures.
And if you think it's cold in PA, you should spend some time in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where I traveled last week for work. Brrrr.
I don't know about you, but I have a serious case of cabin fever
If you are not a lover of frigid weather, how do you find happiness this time of year? Happiness is relative. We all have different likes and dislikes, preferences, moods, experiences, etc., and if we asked 100 people how to define happiness, we would probably get 100 different answers. But I believe there are many things we can all do to enrich our lives, no matter what the season. So what did I do recently to enrich my life?
I indulged in some "down time", even though I could have easily said I don't have time for down time.
This past week, I had dinner after work with a friend and former co-worker who I haven't seen in several years. It was snowing and I could have easily gone straight home, but I'm so glad I didn't. Instead, we caught up over a nice dinner, reminisced, and had some good laughs.
Although I didn't have much down time in Cedar Rapids, I did treat myself to a glass of Gekkeikan Plum Wine at a Chinese restaurant one evening. It was a little sweet for me, and had a heavier body than other wines, but was very interesting and paired very well with spicy sesame chicken.
A few days later, on Saturday evening, my husband, daughter, and I had a delicious home cooked dinner with our wonderful neighbors, the ultimate hosts ... Homemade spaghetti (including the noodles), and an excellent Bordeaux wine (which I can't remember the name of, but it was delightful). Speaking of wine ... in case anyone is concerned that I imbibe more than I should ... the results of my routine lab work this week showed that my cholesterol is at an all time low. My doctor asked what I have been doing differently, and I told him I was drinking more red wine.
The following day, I spent the afternoon being crafty with my Mom, Sister, Aunts, and Cousin in my mom's garage (which has been converted into her own Hobby Lobby). As you can see, we had quite a variety of projects in the works.
My crochet project - a spiral scarf
My Cousin's knitting project - a baby sweater
My Aunt's rag quilt project
My Mom's mystery quilt project
My Sister's mystery quilt project
My Sister's mystery quilt project
Do you have any down time planned? If not, here's some homework for you.
"Take some time to make a happiness list."
Curl up in a comfy chair with a warm blanket and a cup of tea, and reflect on the things that make you smile ... the things that comfort you ... the things that you are thankful for ... the things that you know will make you feel better. NOW WRITE THEM DOWN! You can scribble them on a random piece of paper, but better yet, pick up a nice notebook or journal for a few bucks and make it your happiness journal. After creating your initial list, keep it handy so you can add to it as you experience things that make you feel warm and fuzzy. You don't have to use full sentences or proper grammar ... just jot down your thoughts. When you are suffering from cabin fever, go back and look at this journal for reflection. Here is my list (so far) in no particular order:
1) Lighten up and don't take myself too seriously - I do not have to be perfect
2) Move! Walk, dance, do jumping jacks, stretch ... anything to keep the blood flowing
3) Eat Healthy - this does not mean I can't have dessert ... everything in moderation
4) Listen to music everyday
5) Get more sleep!
7) Stretch out of my comfort zone
8) Smile ... even if I don't feel like it
9) Never stop learning
10) Tell my family I love them every chance I get
11) Count my blessings
12) Think outward, not inward - Everything isn't about me
13) Even though everything isn't about me, find time for me
14) Oh yea, and have a cocktail!
CABIN FEVER RECIPE
1 Mug of your favorite hot chocolate
1 oz. Bailey's Original Irish Cream
1 oz. Creme de Cacao
(you can use Creme de Menthe instead of Creme de Cacao if you like mint in your hot chocolate)
Mix well and top with whipped topping