7 Tips for Beating the Winter Blues

Today we have a great guest post from Colene Elridge, aka Coach Colene. 

Are you “over” this winter? From school cancellations and delays, to sloshing through snow, it’s easy to fall into a funk in February. Don’t get down, though, as there are simple things you can do to ease cabin fever. Here are my seven tips to help you make it through the rest of the winter with a positive outlook:

  1. Slow Down. Bears hibernate for a reason, right? This is the season right before the great awakening that is spring; use it to do your best work… the work on yourself. I tend to go 100 miles a minute, but winter forces me to slow down a bit. What do I do with my “extra” time? Read, bake, go to movies, and catch up on TV shows. 
  2. Treat Yourself. I’m a firm believer that we all deserve a big slice of happiness! Rewarding ourselves with a bit of a treat is incentive enough to keep us moving until spring. I buy loose-leaf tea and local honey and savor every sip of it. I’ll spend time with friends who make me laugh. What small ways can you treat yourself? 
  3. Exercise. I do hot yoga, so it’s easy for me to go in the winter because it’s hot and feels like a bit of a vacation from the cold. We all know exercising is good for you, so take some time to work up a sweat. Your mindset, and your spring and summer clothes, will thank you! 
  4. Wear something bright. Don't feel like you have to wait until spring to wear bright colors. They will help boost your mood and add a bit of pep into your wardrobe. 
  5. Get rid of stuff. Go through your house and get rid of things you don't need, use or love. This act of making room for spring will get you in the right frame of mind for a new awakening. Make sure you donate and/or recycle the things you can. You'll feel good about the extra space and giving to those in need. 
  6. Embrace the cold. Make an effort to go outside to take in the crisp air and get a bit of sunshine. The vitamin D is good for you, plus you can take in nature’s splendor. 
  7. Do something you've been putting off. Use this time to do something you've been procrastinating about. Frame pictures, knit a scarf, call an old friend to catch up. Pick one thing and tackle it! 
About Coach Colene: Colene is a dynamic trainer who offers an interactive and innovative approach to learning and development. She is a Success Coach who works with individuals and organizations that aspire to "Be More." Colene is also a human resources professional and certified mediator. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Transylvania University and a Master’s degree Sullivan University. You can learn more about Coach Colene here

Which of these will you embrace to help beat your winter blues?

When Do You Put Up The Tree?

 When do y'all put up your Christmas tree?

This time of year, that's a divisive question. Too early, and you're stealing Thanksgiving's thunder. Too late, and you're a bit of a Scrooge. It's a quandary of Christmas cheer.
My family doesn't do Black Friday. There's no 4 a.m. trip to Wal-Mart or Kohl's for us. The day after Thanksgiving is forever reserved as The Day We Put Up The Tree. Like Nordstrom, we wait until it's appropriate, but we don't wait too long.

Now, I may have been ready to succumb to the peer pressure of Facebook this weekend. Those folks who posted photos of their trees just seemed so... happy. I already have a few presents purchased, and it's just about time to pull out the Love, Actually DVD. It basically made sense, right?

I was almost convinced until I found myself in Ashland this weekend. I love that town's Christmas decorations, and I wanted to take a few photos for HerKentucky holiday posts. The decorations were as delightful as ever, but it was 63 degrees and sunny. Santa looked a little warm in the sunlight amidst the leaves. Maybe waiting another few days makes sense...

When is your "right time" for holiday decorations?

Wooly Worms

It's going to be a bad, snowy winter, y'all. 

This fact was confirmed for me yesterday when I ran across this guy.

Like most country girls, I grew up with a whole lot of folk wisdom. Because so many people in my town were based in a "grow it and eat it" farming mentality, a huge focus was put on predicting the weather. Dogwood and redbudwinters. Indian summers. And the all-knowing wooly worm.

Now, in case you didn't know, the wooly worm is the larval stage of the Isabella tigermoth. It can be brown or black, or a mixture of the two. Conventional wisdom has always held that the more black the wooly worms show, the worse the winter will be. The placement of the colors can also indicate weather patterns -- a brown band in the middle of a black wooly worm means that winter will start and end harshly with a warm snap in the middle. It's an old-timey tradition across the mountains -- there's even a Wooly Worm Festival in Lee County!

My high school biology teacher had more than a bit of country naturalist in him; he taught us that a lot of natural phenomena that reach "folk wisdom" status are often based in scientific fact. I've read that, while there isn't a lot of scientific data to support the wooly worm's predictive patterns, their color patterns are affected by moisture and temperature. I also know that the wooly worm is usually right.

Did y'all grow up reading the wooly worm?

Stay a day...

My grandmother always says, "If you don't like the weather in Kentucky, stay a day it will change."

However, I'd like to recommend if you are bemoaning the weather any time between late November through mid March, don't stay a day. Get the hell out.

Kentucky winters are grey, rainy, and bleak.

When we first moved here my husband expressed some serious dismay at the never-ending rain. Currently, we are on our third straight day of cold rain.

"Where have you brought me?!?" he exclaimed.

I always welcome the rain at first. I love rainy days. It's like Mother Nature is giving you an excuse to be lazy. You can stay in, read a book, lay on the couch. Of course, now I have a two-year-old and an infant so rain days are spent slowly. going. crazy.

One rainy day is bad enough. Last winter, I think it rained for a week straight. It felt like two. (And we won't even talk about the Flood.) It just gets old is what I'm saying, particularly when the holidays are over and there is nothing to break up the monotony of the cold, grey days.

Thanks only to climate change we've started getting more snow, which in some ways lifts the veil of grey but in others makes life miserable because most Kentucky towns (at least the ones in Western Kentucky) are ill-equipped to handle true winter weather.

Not to mention, some times the winter weather is just enough to cause some real damage (see Ice Storm 2009). No sledding. No beautiful snowscapes. Just ice and sleet, which is even worse.

Luckily, Kentucky springs are the stuff of dreams and Kentucky falls are the prettiest around. They make up for the winters...but just barely.