Motivation Monday: Frugal Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

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motivationmondaysm Uh, is it light outside yet?

In the middle of winter, it seems like the sun is intentionally hiding away. When you’re still dealing with the dreary days of winter, it’s easy to get into a funk – especially after the high of the holidays are over. What’s left to look forward to in January besides new years resolutions and heading back into the workplace?

It can be hard to find ways to keep the brightness spirit of the holidays alive for the rest of winter. Sometimes it feels like the only way to tackle the winter blues is to escape to a tropical island. But you don’t actually have to spend hundreds of dollars on an expensive get-away. If you’re worried about coming off that holiday high and looking for ways to brighten up your dark winter days, here are three tips for staying happy in the winter (without spending a lot of money on travel):

  • Create your own tropical staycation. It’s amazing what some Hawaiian luau music and tropical drinks will do to brighten a dark winter day! You don’t have to buy an expensive ticket to the Caribbean to battle those dreary winter months. With the right imagination, a little island flare, and the right crowd of party-goers, you can create your own tropical paradise wherever you are. If you live near a public indoor pool, take an afternoon to go swimming with a group of friends. Afterwards, you can invite your friends over to your place for some upbeat Hawaiian music, tropical libations of your choice and maybe even a limbo contest. You could even set up a photo booth where people can create a personalized “Wish You Were” postcard to send to friends and family after your party.
  • Exercise, no matter the weather. It’s easy to avoid outdoor activities (and exercise altogether) when it’s cold and dark outside. But exercise is an important activity to keeping your happiness levels high during the winter. Research shows that exercise helps release endorphins, which are chemicals in your body that help create a feeling of euphoria. If it’s too chilly outdoors to run, bike or play sports outdoors, consider taking a gym class once or twice a week to help stay moderately active. If you don’t want to spend money on a gym membership, there are also simple ways to exercise at home, like practicing yoga or sweating to your favorite calisthenics DVD.
  • Keep the spirit of the holidays alive, even in January. It’s almost the New Year, but the good times don’t have to end! There are some aspects of the holiday season – like being close to your family, attending parties with friends, or generally being in the spirit of giving – that are great things to keep going all year round. If you start slipping into a post-holiday funk, try to recreate a few of the simple things you enjoyed during December. Write cards or notes to those that you care about, spend time with your loved ones and create a festive atmosphere for your friends when they come over to visit. Who doesn’t need more reasons to celebrate throughout the year, anyways?