Sunday, January 13, 2019

Beat the Winter Blues

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BEAT THE WINTER BLUES



January blues is documented as a real condition, and experts say it's different than Seasonal Affective Disorder (which is caused by a lack of sunlight). Some say it is the let down after the hype of the holiday season. However, no matter the reason or the cause (the blues or lack of sunlight): you feel blah, and that's a fact. This is why many people plan for a trip in January. But what if you are not traveling? Read on.




It is this writer's opinion that you can plan for the January blues and get through the month to focus on the rest of the year. If your depression is serious, please seek a medical professional.




1. You can make resolutions, just make a few and phase them in. Going on a full toxic fast and trying to save $100 per paycheck at the same time is daunting. Make your goals realistic. Better yet, celebrate your new year at different times: the beginning of spring or in September. Many people are still on a school year cycle and after Labor Day is a great New Year's Day. Don't forget several religions and ethnicities have their own days of renewal.




2. Take a day trip: If you live in a cold weather region, you have two choices: embrace it or escape it. Winter sports are in full peak season. There may be some reservations still available for overnight stays but many resorts have day passes to enjoy skiing, ice skating, snow tubing, riding a snowmobile, etc. The Northeast of the USA is extremely popular (the Berkshires in Massachusetts, upstate New York, the Poconos in Pennsylvania and all over Vermont, just for starters).




3. Did you save your money? Then, become a snowbird. Escape to warmer regions. Winter cruises or Caribbean weekend getaways are popular. But for the Northern Hemisphere, the real challenge is to totally escape winter and head where it is truly summer: Australia, Chile, South Africa. Anything below the equator reverses the seasons. 




4. Become a tourist in your area: now is the time to see concerts, shows (the ice skating shows are popular this time of year), movies and museum exhibits. Brunch on weekends, join a gym or stream workouts in your home. 






5. Get your house in order. Literally. Plan a project you need to do, roll up your sleeves, put on some music and clean out that closet, sort through old clothes, paint the bathroom, do all of those chores that you have been putting off. Or, start a new hobby: learn a language, play an instrument, take up an art. 

Plan for next January


How do you pay for these adventures to get you through the winter? You plan for it now for next year.

1. Watch your spending this year (even as you travel). Being thrifty through the year will feel great when you are on a mid-winter vacation. 



2. Use an app to help you save (but ignore the temptation to buy the debit card that may be offered). Acorns will round off your purchases up to the next dollar and put it into a small savings. You set the boundaries about how much you want to save by also scheduling small automatic deposits. 




3. Many banks and credit unions still have vacation clubs. Try not to link it to your checking (to avoid the temptation of dipping into it during the year. You will be surprised at home much $5 a week will look like at the end of the year.




4. In the middle of the year, think about a membership to your favorite local museum or botanical garden (after you have recovered from holiday expenses). You'll have someplace to go for the whole year.




5. Use a travel agent to plan big trips. You may be able to pay in installments. Cruises allow payments in installments, also. Planning a trip sets a goal and can help you look forward to something.

The key is to try to keep busy and to realize that January doesn't last forever. Only 31 days. Happy Travels!