Banish Your Dead-of-Winter Blues with Digital Sunshine

Your mood shifted for the better just by looking at this, didn't it? (Photo taken at: Dylan's Candy Bar, New York City)
Your mood shifted for the better just by looking at this, didn’t it? (Photo taken at: Dylan’s Candy Bar, New York City)

Thanks to the polar vortex, bad calls regarding snow-day school closings and that d@mn groundhog, I find myself epoxied within the winter of my discontent. I feel like a LEGO Master Builder coated with a generous helping of “Kragle” (also known as Krazy Glue). How about you?

While Mother Nature continues to batter businesses of all sizes (and our collective morale), it’s difficult to fathom that spring will arrive next month.

As a public service, I’ve combed the Internet for online resources to help those of you in need of an attitude alteration. Prepare yourself for some digital sunshine – no sunblock or shady hat required.

Tell Your Brain to Feel Like Doing SOMETHING: I understand how easily your good intent (e.g., waking up early to exercise, doing those delayed errands, finishing a project for work) can become squashed into a pulpy mess by sub-zero temperatures or additional snow cover.

Perhaps the key to conquering weather-related or long-term procrastination is to figure out WHY you keep delegating certain tasks to your inactive bin. A great article that ran in the Wall Street Journal last month suggests regulating your emotions is the path to a procrastination-free life. (Read it RIGHT NOW – I don’t mind.) Tell your brain it’s time for a pep talk!

Visualize Yourself in a Warm-Weather Port of Call: We all know mental imagery is a technique used by many athletes to improve performance. In fact, Chevy Chase’s character in Caddyshack was a staunch advocate of visualization regarding the game of golf:

“There’s a force in the universe that makes things happen. And all you have to do is get in touch with it, stop thinking, let things happen, and be the ball.”

Close your eyes and refuse to see a frozen mass that reminds you of snow or ice. Allow your mind to take you to a place where permafrost is unheard of and flurries have never visited. Make it a (hypothetical) multisensory moment: smell the scent of tropical blooms, hear the gentle, rhythmic slapping of waves on the shore, feel the warmth and texture of individual grains of sand sliding through your fingers.

Ready for some “visual” visualization? These stunning images of tropical destinations begin with Bora Bora and end with the Seychelles Islands

Make Your World a Brighter One by Managing SAD-Related Symptoms: While I enjoy weaving humor into my blog posts, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) shouldn’t be mocked, so I will write accordingly. SAD is a form of depression that impacts a certain percentage of people during the fall and/or winter months.

Light therapy is one potential way to do battle with the symptoms of SAD. According to the Mayo Clinic, “During light therapy, you sit or work near a device called a light therapy box. The box gives off bright light that mimics natural outdoor light.” The theory is that enough exposure to the artificial light stimulates certain brain chemicals (serotonin, norepinephrine, etc.) associated with mood.

This in turn may ease depression and improve mental outlook during the months when natural sunshine is in limited quantities. Here are some additional facts about SAD. (Note: Please speak with your primary physician before attempting light therapy on your own.)

Shake Your Groove Thing to Minimize Those “It’s Still Winter – WTF?” Blues: We all know exercise is a great way to cope with the physical lethargy induced by cold, inclement weather. If you can’t compel yourself to go for a walk outdoors during frigid temperatures, become reacquainted with your gym membership.

But if you dread exercising in public, invest in a diverse collection of workout DVDs (mix it up with weight training, aerobics, yoga or pilates, etc.). No attention span for following exercise video routines in the semi-privacy of your basement or living room? Then briskly navigate your (home or work) stairs until you break into a sweat!

Suggestions I shared via blog post last year (“Easy Exercise Tips for Home-Based Business Owners”) can easily be adapted by my office-dwelling friends who commute to work.

When All Else Fails, Try Some Online Photo Therapy (It Don’t Cost Nothing): There are times I seek sanctuary from my precarious perch as a freelance B2B writer. When I need mental relief I look at images and photos of the pretty things I covet, like vintage carnival glass and antique costume jewelry.

I’m no clinical psychologist, but I’m convinced 10 – 15 minutes spent not thinking (by allowing combinations of the color spectrum to flood your eyeballs) can be quite soothing any time of year. And since I don’t know your personal likes and hobbies, here’s a hodgepodge of glorious photo collections sure to stimulate.

Gaze upon any of these for a visual health break (from now until March 19):


How are you coping (both mentally and physically) with our year of wintering dangerously? Beyond my suggestions and related links, what other advice can you share to keep us all from going stir crazy? Just remember: “snow” is a four-letter word, but so is melt. Stay warm and dry, gentle readers!

Lori Shapiro is the owner of By All Writes LLC, a business-to-business (B2B) writing, editing, and research company in Marlton, New Jersey. She revels in shielding her clients from the pain of writing their own print and web marketing copy. Please call Lori Shapiro at 856-810-9764 or email By All Writes LLC at  for a no-obligation project quote today!

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