February is the shortest month, but sometimes, it can feel like the longest. The celebrations are mostly done, the visiting a thing of the past as people hibernate in their own pads. Here's how to fight those February blahs.
1 Scrub the windows
Yes, it's too cold to do the outsides, but give the insides a good hard scrub and you'll let in all the light that's there. And let's face it; at this time of year, every little bit helps.
2 Clean out your medicine cabinet
Look for stale-dated over-the-counter remedies, make-up you don't even remember buying and any bottles that are almost empty. (Toss the first two, and use up the last one.)
3 Examine your summer shoe collection
Sounds crazy, but imagining wearing them with your favourite little sundress will give you temporary respite from the winter blahs. And on a practical level, if there's a buckle that needs to be fixed or a sole that needs reinforcing, you can get it done now so you'll be ready to kick up your heels when the sun comes out for real.
4 Go through old love letters
Everyone has a shoe box full of past memories, pictures, movie ticket stubs, dried flowers... Can you think of a better time to review them? It might put a smile on your face. And if you can't stomach it, how about that box of letters from friends, birthday cards from grandma and notes from dad? There's a reason you're hanging on to them. Pour yourself a glass of wine and spend some quality time with your past.
5 Clean your desktop
Even though it's not very sexy, plan to sit down at your desk for an hour, sift through your files, purge what's irrelevant and organize the rest. Do the same with your e-mail account. Your system may run faster and even if it doesn't, you'll have a better handle on the words, pictures and music you've been holding on to.
6 Buy flowers
Treat yourself to a colourful, bright, stunning bouquet full of stems of varying lengths and exotic aromas that delight the senses. Give them place of honor in your home; somewhere you can appreciate them.
7 Send a Valentine
This month, send a Valentine to someone other than the man or woman in your life.
8 Read a manual
Admit it – there's an appliance or piece of equipment in your home that you just don't understand. Even if you can program the clock on the VCR or DVD player, what about you cell phone? Can you use all the bells and whistles? Do you know all the features your flat screen TV has to offer? And if you're feeling really ambitious, pick up the manual for your car. There've got to be parts you glossed over in your rush to see how fast that baby could fly.
9 Turn off the TV
It's so simple to plunk yourself in front of the tube and stay there all night. Don't get sucked into the abyss, it's too easy on your brain and too hard on your waistline (snacking and surfing go hand in hand). You don't have to give it up altogether, but if you flick on the TV every night, plan to do something different for two of those evenings. Read, listen to music while you stare at the wall (it might become meditation), pull out a towel and stretch on the floor, call a girlfriend and log an hour catching up on the phone … the possibilities are limitless.
10 Plan a dream vacation
Even if you can't actually go, everyone needs a fantasy to get them through the day so why not build yours now? Pull out maps and pick a destination. There are so many beautiful places, this may be hard. Once you have the locale, get online and price it out. Besides the airfare and hotels, what side trips and excursions would you like to take? How will you get from one part of the country to another? Would you rent a car or buy a rail pass? Plot an itinerary. So what if you can't afford it this year? You might one day.