Fight the winter blues with early spring cleaning

Published 4:30 pm Friday, January 21, 2022

This time of the year can be downright depressing.  It gets dark early.  The weather is nasty — cold, rainy, dreary.  I’m always concerned about people whose homes are drafty and hard to heat and especially about the homeless.  I seem to focus on the negative.   Many people you encounter may also suffer from winter blues.   

So, I decided that I need to adopt a more cheerful outlook and try to incorporate some positive thoughts in my daily ponderings.  Things that make me happy, things that make me smile.  Here goes.  

Eating popcorn.  How can you be sad if you’re snarfing down popcorn?  That lovely buttery crunch is good for the soul.  And it usually means you are watching something entertaining and mindless on TV—a favorite movie or program, an escape from the cold and rainy and worrisome musings.  

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Sunshine!  Even if it is cold outside, those golden rays lift my spirits.  No doubt about it, sunshine equals happy.

Clean sheets.  Who doesn’t love clean sheets?  The way the materials smells—not clothesline-fresh but definitely dryer-fresh smell.  Feels like your whole world is comfy.  And I gotta tell you, it feels like you are in a luxury hotel when you crawl into that freshly-made, clean-sheet, ironed pillowcases bed.  So, I iron the pillowcases.  Honestly, once I get the iron plugged in and the ironing board up, I enjoy ironing.  You can get some good TV viewing in too but skip the popcorn.  You don’t want greasy spots on your pillowcases!  

A head start on spring cleaning.  While it’s cold and dreary out, it’s a good time to do some of those spring-cleaning chores like straightening my pantry.  I toss out the expired cans and containers of food.  Who needs to keep that itsy-bitsy amount of stale cereal in that big box that I used to make chex mix during the holidays?  And what about those potatoes that are sprouting?  May be time to toss those too.  While I’m at it, I organize the contents, labels facing forward.  Makes me feel accomplished!  

Washing my make-up brushes.  Yep, those.  Each day as I apply my make-up, I think that I should clean them.  It’s not difficult, it’s just another of those chores that I continue to overlook.  But after I have swished them around in the soapy water and placed them on the counter to dry, it makes me smile.  

 Calling a friend always brings me joy.  I will spend lots of time thinking about someone and how I’d like to chat but then I just don’t seem to actually take the time to make the call.  How will they know they are in my thoughts unless I make an effort to convey that to them?  

Reading a good book always provides a mental “vacation.”   I can immerse myself in a book such that I practically live and breathe as if I’m the lead character.  And I love re-reading favorites.  It’s like visiting an old friend.  

Looking through family photos.  These days, they are usually in digital format, but we also have some actual printed pictures.  It’s fun to see those moments that represent good times captured for posterity.  

Talking to our dog, Carly.  She’s a great listener, she’s very attentive, and I can tell her anything.  I can be totally honest with her knowing that she never shares my secrets.  She gives me great joy!

So, conquer the doldrums.  Beat the melancholy you may be experiencing.  Deliberately do something that cheers you up, that makes you happy.  And be watching for those early signs of spring!

Bonnie Brown writes a column for The Oxford Eagle. She can be reached at