Sunday, February 04, 2018

Weekly Inspiration: Celebrate the Small Stuff to Banish the Winter Blues

This is a tough time of year for many people, especially those with chronic illness. You may still be crashed from the frenzy of the big holidays, days are short and often gloomy, and you are probably stuck inside the house even more due to bad weather. This stretch between Christmas and Easter (signaling spring!) can be a long and difficult one for many.

For my family, though, this is a time of year filled with joy and fun because we celebrate all the little (sometimes tiny!) holidays in small ways that brighten up the gloomy winter days. Don't worry - you just made it through the major holiday season, and I'm not suggesting another push beyond your limits for even more holidays. Rather, we celebrate in small ways suited to our limits, and you can, too. If you have kids at home, even better - they can pitch in to help decorate (maybe even cook if they are older), and all kids love to celebrate! Even if you are bed-ridden, you can still brighten up these gloomy winter days with small sparks of joy, celebrating days like Mardi Gras, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day...even Groundhog's Day! If you're in a part of the world that doesn't celebrate this stuff, even better! Add some new simple and joyful traditions to your life.

This article I wrote for ProHealth, The Joy of Celebrations, explains how to add small celebrations into your life, with tips that will work even from your bed - wear festive pajamas, ask your partner to bring home holiday-themed foods, have your kids create some decorations to hang in your bedroom,  watch something appropriate for the holiday on TV or your laptop, and more. The article includes lots of practical tips and ideas for bringing some joy into your winter days that will boost you up, not wear you out.

This blog post, The Joy of Celebrations, is one I wrote here on the blog about 7 years ago. You'll see that I used some of the same information and ideas for my ProHealth article, but the blog post includes some of our own family photos of our own small celebrations - even one for Groundhog's Day!

One of our biggest celebrations all year at our house is for Mardi Gras, because my husband and I used to live in New Orleans! My sons and I have now improved enough that we were able to resume our old tradition of hosting a party (though it's a small, quiet one now), but even in our sickest years, we still celebrated in our own small ways alone at home. Here are some ideas and links for celebrating Mardi Gras from your bed, no matter where you live! There's even a link there to live webcams of the parades in New Orleans. Unfortunately, the links to my recipes on that post are no longer working (the magazine I published them in was sold, so they are no longer on the site), but you can see those recipes here, in a copy of the article. Mardi Gras Day this year falls on Tuesday, February 13, so next weekend is a great time to celebrate.

Here at our house, we will be celebrating Superbowl tonight (no, I don't care about football, but I enjoy the foods and the ads!), and next week is Mardi Gras! We don't do as much for Valentine's Day, with our sons out of the house now (and this year, it is the day after Mardi Gras Day), but my husband and I will get some yummy take-out and share some chocolate.

My psychologist who specialized in chronic illness used to always ask me, "What are you looking forward to?" We have lots of spots of joy coming up in the next two months to look forward to! Add these no-fuss, no-work mini-celebrations into your life, and you'll be past those winter doldrums before you know it...maybe you'll even look forward to this time of year! (though you can keep celebrating small holidays any time of year)

How do you celebrate the small stuff?

Happy Mardi Gras!

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