Combating the Winter Blues

This week the Homeschool Review Crew is discussing the winter blues. So, I wanted to share with you a few tips I’ve learned over the years for staving off the winter blues.While certainly not everyone deals with the winter blues, it is not uncommon for people to feel sad or depressed during the winter. For homeschoolers, school might seem to be dragging on and boring. I remember from grade school, the stretch from New Year’s to Easter seemed to drag on forever.  Those three months, at the time without a federal holiday, were in stark contrast to all of November and Decembers diversions. The tedium of the same schedule, coupled with shorter days and cooler seemed to sap the energy from everyone. You might lack motivation or just be ready for a change. Today, I am going to share some tips to help out your home in general and your homeschool.

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Sunlight

Between shorter days and often colder temperatures, we often get less sunlight than in other months. If I am being honest, several days can go by without me getting outside in the sunlight at all during the colder months. (I don’t even live where it gets super cold.) However, when I can get outside into the sunshine for at least 20-30 minutes a day, I feel so much better. I notice a distinct improvement in my own attitude when we make the effort to go outside. It also helps the children’s attitudes. So I encourage you, whenever possible and even if you have to bundle up and your face is the only thing really getting any sunshine, try to get outside for a few minutes each day. Some northern cultures even supplement indoor playtime with artificial lighting, like those used in tanning beds, to simulate some of that sunshine experience. Plus there’s definitive health benefits in Vitamin D production.

Flowers

This one sounds superficial, but honestly having flowers in my house during the winter can really brighten my mood. They do not need to be expensive flowers, but that little bit of fresh color makes me smile and brightens my day. I tend to either buy a small potted flower that will last for several months or I buy the $4 or $5 bouquet of flowers from the grocery store. Those tend to last 2-3 weeks. I put mine on the kitchen table so that I see it every time I go into the kitchen, but you could put flowers wherever you would find them to be the most helpful.

Change of Scenery

Sometimes a change of scenery can make a huge difference in how we feel or how our homeschool day goes. I know that during the winter and especially this winter with all of the COVID restrictions, it can seem challenging to find a change of scenery. Many of our typical field trip locations are closed or very restricted. However, it can be something simple. You might choose a warmer day and go take a hike or do school at the park. If it is open in your location you could go to the library for a little while.  You might not even leave home, maybe you move your read aloud into your living room in front of a fireplace, or take school onto your porch. Sometimes just changing things up a little bit can make a big difference.

Get Moving

In the interest of full disclosure, this might be the one that I struggle with the most. I know it makes a big difference but between cold weather and busy schedules I often lack the necessary motivation. However, when I do get moving I know that it makes me feel better and gets our day going in the right direction. I find that movement works well for both myself and the children. Whenever possible, the children spend several hours a day outside playing, tending their animals, and get in a lot of natural movement. I have to be much more intentional about getting myself moving. I find that my best days are typically the ones where I get up, turn on one of my Fit2B workouts, and make myself exercise a bit before starting my day. Even when I choose one of the short 10-15 minute workouts, it improves my attitude and the brain fog.  On days when it is too cold or rainy to go outside, or when we just need a little change of pace in the middle of the day, I put on one of the kids workouts and do it with my younger two children. It has the power to turn a bad day around.

Unit Study/Electives

Winter can sometimes leave us wanting something different during our homeschool days. Some years we have needed to make a full switch because curriculum was not really working, but often we just need to add in a little fun to help us through the slump. This might be done by taking a week off of normal studies and diving into an interest driven unit study. Sometimes we keep all of our normal curriculum and just add in a fun elective that everyone can look forward to. This might be something we do as a family or each child might pick something that interests them. Since we have a membership at SchoolhouseTeachers.com, it doesn’t cost us extra for them to pick up a an elective and give it a try. In addition to full year courses, they have lots of short studies that can be just right for adding excitement, and a little enrichment, into our homeschool day. For example, my daughter enjoys photography and can take one of their photograph courses. My son might prefer to try the violin course or architecture. You could also add a bit of music with lessons from SQUILT or even just their daily listening calendar. You could start your morning off with just that few minutes of music to change the tone of the day.  If you have a student that enjoys art you could add in some fun winter or literature themed lessons from ChalkPastel.com. Changing things up just a little bit can help bring back the interest and motivation that will keep you going until spring time.

Conclusions

I hope that you found these tips and tricks for dealing with the winter blues helpful. I would love to hear your suggestions in the comments. Don’t forget to hope on over to the Review Crew page to check out all of the other posts about winter blues.

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