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Even MORE Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

The Ugly Side of Winter by Dawn Huczek via Flickr

Well, it’s officially here folks, the winter blues. Or is it, they are officially here? Blues = plural? Either way, it’s not fun! Some say this period of frozen melancholia doesn’t creep its way into our souls until February but I disagree. The moment the Christmas cheer is gone, the blues step in to take its place. But fear not, for there are many ways to combat the winter blues and get back in step with the bright side of life.

Here are my top five suggestions that’ll help you warm up, stretch out, wake up, clean out and brighten your day until April showers come our way.

Number five – Warm up with a luxurious sugar and cinnamon body scrub made up of olive oil, brown sugar, cocoa powder, and of course, cinnamon. Feel free to play around with the proportions to suit your tastes and needs. If you want to give your skin a good scrub (don’t exfoliate more than once a week however), than opt for more sugar. Add just enough olive oil to turn your mixture into a good paste. You can either lather it on before a shower or bath but I prefer to get wet and warm first before rubbing the scrub on. I find doing this makes the scrub easier to spread over my skin but it does reduce its exfoliation factor ever so slightly. Remember not to get water in your container. This can make your paste too watery and encourage bacteria growth. Store in a sealed container and this magic scrub will last for six months. Beauty bonus – you don’t have to moisturize after because the olive oil in the scrub does that for you.

Number four – Brighten your day with good karma by cleaning out your closet for donations. My rule of thumb is simple and common: if you haven’t worn it in three months, donate it. Of course, this doesn’t apply to season-specific clothing. If you keep your winter and summer clothes together year-round, than obviously you won’t follow this rule and end up throwing out an entire summer wardrobe just because you haven’t been able to wear anything in this -30 weather. Another tip I just learned from a friend of mine is to maintain a Parisian wardrobe. As a rule, Parisian’s have very small closets because of the city’s cramped quarters. To keep their closets manageable and their style unforgettable, many keep their wardrobe simple with classic staples that can be worn repeatedly and mix n’ matched. Brilliant, n’est-ce pas? Karma bonus – You’ll not only feel great about your super clean, lean Parisian closet, you’ll also be happy about having helped out a local goodwill store. They are always in need of gently used clothing and trust me; you won’t miss that pink blouse for more than a minute once it’s gone.

Number three – Get acquainted with Tara Stiles, a successful yoga instructor who made a name for herself by posting five minute-long yoga videos on YouTube. What makes her videos special is that each one is geared towards a specific goal. Morning yoga, yoga for flexibility, ab yoga, bedtime yoga, you name it, Tara’s got it. I like her lazy way of speaking, incredible flexibility, and how she doesn’t give airs. Some yogis say she’s dumbed the practice down to sexiness and looking fit but I say she’s made it less intimidating and more accessible. So when you come home from work from a cold walk home and need to loosen up from shivering the whole way, YouTube Tara Stiles for warm up yoga. Budget bonus – All of her videos are free. Yup, nada.

Number two – You put your feet on it, your coffee mug and the paper. Other than that, you don’t give it much thought. But your coffee table not only takes up a fair bit of space in your living area, it can dictate the look of the room too. Give yourself a fun weekend project and brighten up your space by refurbishing your coffee table. Don’t have a coffee table? Do some thrift shopping for an affordable and unique piece. If your table’s wooden and you want to stain it, be aware that you may have to sand it first, causing a major dust problem. You may have to wait for warmer weather so you can do that project outside. But if you want a simple way of sprucing your coffee stand up, consider a couple coats of paint. I’d choose a bold colour that will make your room pop. Pantone just announced that the colour of the year is Tangerine Tango. It’s warm, spicy, yet tropical and fresh. It’ll go with neutrals and just about any colour, so give it a whirl.

Tip – I started painting as a youngin’ with my parents during our home renovations and I did a summer stint with College Pro as a student, so take my advice: regardless of the table’s original colour, use a primer. This’ll guarantee that your colour will stand out in all its true glory and you’ll mask any imperfections in the table’s surface.

Number one – Throw a party! More specifically, throw a swap party. Don’t just swap clothing; try jewelry, purses, footwear, outerwear, CDs, books, magazines, kitchenware, movies, advice, shoveling services and hot chocolate recipes. The sky’s the limit! There’s nothing like a gathering of people over music, wine and free exchanges to warm the cockles of the heart. In my experience, the swap should have a minimum number of donation items required in order for people to participate. Explain that you want gently used and clean items – this applies to kitchenware and multimedia too. No one wants a scratched DVD or gunky food processor. I would avoid setting restrictions on people. As long as they bring the minimum number of items, let them take home as much as they want. I always start my swaps by giving guests five to ten minutes to browse without picking anything up. Then the games can begin! If you have any leftovers, donate them or put them up on your local Used site and donate the profits to charity.

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