Column: Beating those winter blues


Commentary by Jim Serger

As the sun set yesterday at 5:54 p.m., I knew spring is right around the corner. As the sun set back in November at 5:21 p.m., I knew I could go for a long winter’s nap. Why do we call it “the winter blues?” Blue comes in all different variations: navy, royal, baby, peacock (never knew that color existed), but what does “winter blues” mean?

Blues—means down and out, sad, frustrated, dejected, dispirited, low, glum—or down in the dumps. The sun goes down, it’s freezing out, the curtains are drawn to, the furnace is raised a few degrees, a favorite sweatshirt dawned. You know the one I am speaking of. No elbows left, faded beyond recognition and your favorite, non-matching warm fuzzy socks are pulled up.

We give labels to the way we feel all the time, so this is about changing the “blues” to yellow, reds, oranges and greens. We have the right to be upbeat, the right to laugh and sing and feel good about ourselves 365 days a year. We have the right to beat old man winter at his game of tricks, and we have the right to wave him off and shake the winter blues.

So how do we do that, going into the darkest month of the year? Yes, my birthday is in February, and Valentine’s Day and even the Super Bowl is this month. But, it’s cold, and our anticipation of the month to go by quickly slows it down even more. We want it over now! Please be March 1. For some odd reason, if the calendar says March, then winter is over.

So the game goes like this: we have 28 days to get this over with, that is four weekends, eight weekend days and 20 week days. If the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day take up two days—we have 26 days to kick old man winter out. So be creative, be optimistic, tackle this month head on and set the tone. Pitch a tent in front of the TV and fireplace a few times. Throw blankets in there, eat pizza and watch a movie. Roast marshmallows and hotdogs over the fireplace. Cook Spaghetti-O’s in pan over the fire—that would be a first. Kids love movie marathons just as much as adults. Four weekends, so start from the beginning and each week watch part one, two, three and four.

Positive and upbeat is how we conquer this month. Be creative: board games, read to each other—one I heard is DJ in the kitchen. As the parent cooks the meal, the kids are taking requests. Walk the dog, weather in the 50s, we can handle that. Try new recipes, sock-snowball fight. Roll up 50 pairs of socks and catch your kids off guard and let them have it—but expect it in return. Paint that playroom—plan out spring break, look into summer vacations, summer camps.

So let the sun in, feel its warmth. Yes, I need a layer of clothing to go out—but, that will not stop me from knocking these “blues” out of the park. So good-bye old man winter, yes I feel you on my neck and fingers—but my mood is one of cheerfulness, buoyancy and of sanguineness. February will be March soon and psychological warfare beats doom and gloom any month. In February we just need a little more assertiveness.

Jim Serger is a Carmel resident and author.

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