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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Travel to Beat the Winter Blahs

Living in Portland has a lot of perks, but one of the drawbacks is that winter can be really bleak. It's not usually bothersome to me, but I know a lot of people who have intense SAD (seasonal affective disorder). This month, I think it's finally caught up to me, because we have very short days full of rain and most of them are super cloudy, and then we have 12-13 hours of nighttime. I'm feeling pretty off on everything and want to just hide in my own bubble and ignore people, and I'm sleeping really badly, which is not a problem I normally have. 

If you're also experiencing SAD, or just the feeling blah in general from the craze of the holidays and then the let-down of the new year, let's talk about how we can combat that: 

Plan a trip

You don't actually need to go on a vacation, especially if you just came back from one, but actively planning for something good can really get you out of a funk. It's been proven that even the act of planning trip can lift your mood, almost as much as actually taking the trip itself. 

I have been looking at things to do and places to eat in New Orleans for my short visit in March for the Travel Goods Show. It's giving me joy in the moments of blerg during this month, since I have something to look forward to. I'm also in the act of slowly packing my bag. I'm not taking much, but buying a few new things is also giving me an emotional lift. In the fall I bought some spring shoes on clearance for future trips, so those are going in as well. And yesterday I parsed out my toiletry bag, so I know I'm not taking things I don't need. 

Stay tuned for a packing light post for spring.

Go explore your town

Just get outside. Even if the weather sucks, taking a day trip or just being a tourist in your own town. As much as I just want to stay inside and listen to podcasts or watch movies, it's not really too productive, so I know I should go out and get fresh air and see people. I planned a group brunch this past weekend and, as much as I didn't want to go, I knew seeing and interacting with people would be good for me, and I was right. 

Force yourself out, take some pictures of cool things, play some games, meet some friends. You'll find you feel less depressed, if only for a little while. It's better than nothing and wallowing at home by yourself and/or being cranky with your family.

Throw a party

We throw quite a few parties, and this year we decided to do more themes, but also try to save more money. Because we can't travel all the time, we came up with a happy medium. We threw our first "destination potluck", where we chose a travel destination and asked our guests to bring dishes from that region. I did a bit of decorating, but nothing crazy like I would normally. It gave us all a break from reality and that excitement of trying new foods when you travel. It was enough to give us the incentive to throw more. 

Hit up the salt room

It's been a while since I suggested this. We aren't all close to the beach, and wintertime isn't a great time to visit anyway. The salt room gives you the same benefits, but you won't have to wear 9 layers of clothes and get wet sand in your shoes. In fact, an hour in the salt room is equivalent to 3 days at the beach, plus the salt-ionized air can help keep you healthy, which is also important in this time where it seems like every third person has the flu or some other nasty sickness.

That's what I got for you. Try to survive the gross seasons of winter and sickness. Eat your veggies, get your vitamins, keep your spirits up, and get excited about future vacations.

How do you beat the winter blahs or your SADness?

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