Seven ways to smile through winter

It’s only mid-January, and I’ve reached winter’s crying time.

After the recent ice storm, I feel almost as frozen as this holly. We'll both thaw out in time.
After the recent ice storm, I feel almost as frozen as this holly. We’ll both thaw out in time.

You think I’m being overly dramatic? I’m not. Usually, I reach this stage mid-February right after Valentine’s Day, but crying time came early this year.

Ice storms are beautiful, but hard on plants and people.
Ice storms are beautiful, but hard on plants and people. I don’t mind snow as much.

In one week, Oklahoma had a snowstorm, an ice storm and copious rain.

Don’t panic. I’m not really crying. I am a bit lethargic and misty-eyed in winter’s aftermath. So, this morning, I took myself in hand, sat down with a cup of tea and a breakfast bar, and considered ways to smile through winter.

More of Mother Nature's icy grip.
More of Mother Nature’s icy grip.

After 54 years of circling the sun, I know myself pretty well. First, I thought about why I’m in such a funk. Oh yeah, my entire family was sick for weeks during and after the holidays. Between the cold virus, bronchitis and the norovirus, my poor family was down for the count. It reminded me of the years when I spent all my time doing laundry and pouring cold medicines down everyone’s throats. I am grateful I did not catch the norovirus. You just don’t know how grateful.

In the meantime, my exercise routine fell off, and I haven’t been outside nearly enough. I also went to see the movie, Jackie, yesterday in the rain no less. No wonder I’m feeling crotchety.

Time to make some changes. Here’s my seven-point plan

  1. Keep eating healthy as much as possible. With May and Megan’s wedding looming ever closer, I need to look my best for those important photos. Plus, it’s good to be healthy, and I’m not getting any younger. Blah, blah, blah.
  2. Exercise three to four times a week. Grant permission not to kill myself either. My exercise has been pretty bad for the last couple of weeks, and it shows in how my clothes fit. However, I have a tendency to punish myself when I relapse from the treadmill. That just makes me sore, and then I don’t exercise in a vicious circle. Remember that I’m also trying to stay strong for spring and garden season along with a daylily tour here in June.
  3. Read more books and stay off the internet as much as possible. I have a new reading challenge on Goodreads. There are now studies showing our brains work differently because of our social media addiction. I know I get a dopamine rush when my phone bings. So, more books and less online time unless I’m working on an article or post.
  4. Have more indoor plants. I’m thrilled my bulbs are starting to grow and bloom. It makes winter seem less formidable. Also, I’m going to spend more time in my greenhouse. I’ve neglected it this year because we had a disaster early on. I need to get out there and cut back the dead limbs on some of my citrus burned by cold weather. The door blew open, and I haven’t had the heart to repair the damage indoors.
  5. Use my NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp when I’m reading for thirty minutes a day. I need to remember to use this because I have one, and it works.
  6. Keep doing videos. I like live video and my channel on YouTube. I don’t do many gardening videos this time of year because there’s not much gardening to do, but I enjoy making unboxing videos and such.
  7. Garden when and where I can. As I wrote above, so far this month, we’ve had a snowstorm, an ice storm and copious amounts of rain, but in between, we’ve also had wonderful weather. I need to get out there and cut back the perennial grasses. Since we finally got some cold weather making the roses dormant, I’ll also prune them.

These are my seven ways to smile through winter. What are yours?


  1. Love this timely posting, Dee. I’m glad I don’t spend a lot of time on social media — I hate the thought of anything controlling my brain. Writing is my preferred winter activity — I mean garden writing, of course. P. x

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Hi Pam, I can fritter the day away on social media which is why I’ve made myself stop. I hate the idea too. I do love writing of all stripes and types. 🙂

  2. bittster says:

    Yikes is that a mess of ice! I’m glad the damage wasn’t as bad as it looks.
    Thanks for the reminder to limit internet time. I tried to walk away yesterday and could barely remember what used to fill my winter evenings before facebook and such!
    Maybe it’s time to crack open a book and take a look inside that seed box 🙂

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Even though it looked messy, the roads weren’t bad because we’d been so warm. Yeah, social media can suck away your life.

  3. I am amazed how much simply writing a blog post helps me. The writing always lifts me. How do I keep forgetting?! Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I know to do all this stuff, now let me do it.

  4. Laura Fott says:

    I’m a flower farmer in TN and what gets me through this time of year is seeding out all the hardy annuals and perennials. I have an indoor germination area and I highly recommend it! The lights, warmth (heat mats) and excitement of the literal miracle of life always gets me through! Also, I’m from Perry, OK (just up the road from you) and I was grateful to see the photos of the ice. I’m calling my mom today!

  5. Sensible advice there Dee. I managed a visit to a garden last week, one I’ve wanted to see for a long, long time. Luckily some do open at this time of the year and actually winter is one of my favourite times to visit. It’s so uplifting because everything else is so grey and I believe if a garden looks good at this time of the year, they must be getting it right for the rest of the time.

    So sorry to hear your family’s been ill for the holidays, we were too and that post-viral thing doesn’t help to lift the mood does it?

  6. I think you have a great plan laid out to get out of the funk. I am trying to do several of those myself. Eating healthy specifically to balance my hormones, regular exercise, reading and as much garden goodness as possible during winter. We are pretty mild in Georgia right now so getting out in the garden is still doable. In fact I planted some trees over the weekend. Hang in there Dee! Spring will be here before we know it.

  7. It is that time of year. I read quite a bit. Tend my indoor garden. Try to write more. Get outside even though it is cold and damp. Right now it isn’t so cold but it has been raining daily for a week and will continue to do so. Thunderstorms no less. Trying to get out of that January funk. For if I don’t what will February be like?? I think being outside is the best.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Lisa, the indoor garden helps so much doesn’t it? If you can head outside, it sure does help.

  8. indygardener says:

    This winter is so different for me because for the first time since I was five years old, I am not in school and I’m not working. Though, I am working on writing and presentations about gardening. That’s keeping me happy. I’m spending my days dreaming about vegetable gardens and planning to have “the best one yet”! And I’m reading more, too, and I put together a jigsaw puzzle (a picture of a whole bunch of vintage seed packets). I’m also baking some and oh, yes, trying to spend a bit of time walking everyday on my treadmill or at the mall.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      I think just being retired would make one happy, and you have so much going on right now. I love reading. It helps me travel when I can’t.

  9. My winter strategy consists of drooling over seed catalogs, buying small blooming plants from the grocery store like primrose pots, visiting the Franklin Park Conservatory, and organizing photos from my garden. I also do a lot of crocheting, reading, and my usual music activities. I sing in several different groups, and that always keeps me smiling!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Hey Robin, we’re not doing the big vegetable garden this year because I’m having that tour. Luckily the weather is better this week so I’m doing so much better. 😉 Plus, everyone isn’t sick anymore. I do love reading, knitting and such. That helps for sure.

  10. I hear you. I call it the February Funk even though it usually starts about now. Looks like we have some nice weather this week so that will help. Stay warm!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      I hate February girl. Hate it.

  11. Lydia Plunk says:

    Greetings, Dee. Winter mood enhancers- I have a grow light in my office. As they go out, the old light bulbs in the whole house are being replaced with full spectrum LED. More music. More time with family and friends. Thank you for getting me thinking.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Those are great ideas Lydia. I think we do use full-spectrum LEDs in our lamps now. They do really help too. Thanks for your other ideas. Yes, a girlfriend date is definitely in order. I need to eat out somewhere and have some girl time.

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