Personally, I was feeling fine until last week's string of events: an insomniac teething baby, multiple subzero days, a resident mouse who resisted all catching attempts, and a husband gone to Japan for the entire week.
Here are a few of my tried-and-true suggestions for staying sane when the walls are closing in. (I revisited several of these last week, and they carried me through until Mike's return!)
- Visit the Caribou drive-through (or whatever overpriced-but-delicious coffee shop is near you). My darling husband gave me a Caribou gift card for Valentine's Day, so now I have no guilt about spending $4 on a mocha. :-) If I'm not up for tackling naptime at home, I've been known to bundle up the kids, grab a coffee on my way out of town, and explore the scenic country roads surrounding Red Wing. Once the kids are asleep, I park next to the river (insert van by the river joke here) to read or work on paperwork while the kids nap. They rarely nap at the same time at home, so this is a huge treat! I'm tempted to use this trick more often, but I try to limit myself to once every few weeks.
- Cue Pandora and throw a dance party in the kitchen. (This often solves that 5:00 "Mommy's ignoring us and making dinner" crankiness that every kid seems predisposed to!) My kids love the Raffi station. (Okay, confession: I love Raffi too.)
- Blend up a tropical smoothie.
- Diffuse something happy. I blended Wild Orange and Lime a few days ago and felt a sudden surge of energy.
- Treat yourself to some flowers. Trader Joe's has the best bouquets, and for a decent price, too. (Don't forget to pick up a carton of dark chocolate peanut butter cups while you're there!)
- Work on something you love. Editing pictures is one of my favorite quick pick-me-ups.
- Call your mom. Or sister. Or best girlfriend. Sometimes just hearing a loved one's voice turns our day around.
- Rearrange a room. Throw a bunch of stuff in a bag for Goodwill--you will feel so much lighter!
- Just. Get. Outside. Even if it's only for ten minutes. You won't regret it.
- Check out your local gym. We purchased a family YMCA membership this winter, and it was a lot more affordable than we expected. Some days it's hard to get there (kids + winter = GEAR!), but I never regret putting forth the effort. Gray and Rain love playing in the Y childcare, and I have been hitting the track while listening to a book on my iPod. So revitalizing!
- Pull out a new toy. (Think outside the box!) I retrieved our wading pool and plastic balls from a garage corner, and voila, indoor ball pit! It's currently hogging most of our living room, but I don't really mind since it's provided hours of entertainment.
- Host a playdate. My friend recently invited us to an indoor picnic in her living room. The kids were too distracted by the surrounding toys to eat much, but that just meant more meat and cheese for the mamas. :-)
- Talk your husband into watching the kids for an hour some evening. Fill the tub with steamy water, add a couple drops of lavender, and grab a book you don't mind getting a little water-rippled. So relaxing. Warning: it takes huge amounts of motivation to make yourself get out of the tub!
- Hit up the local library for a stack of new books.
There you have it--a few ideas for saving your sanity this winter. You can thank me with chocolate. :-) And let me know in the comments what's been getting you by until Spring.
P.S. I just checked the extended forecast, and there are several days in the 50s in the foreseeable future! So this post might be rather useless soon. In that case, replace subzero temps with rain, mud, or a sweltering heat index!