DREAM HOME - This upstairs living area at the STARS Home Lottery show home in Laredo

Brightening up those long, dark winter days

Local designer gives tips on quick pick me ups through the winter months

As I reflect on the weeks of January, I am encouraged by the warm(ish) weather we have had and am grateful that this month has gone by quickly.

January can be difficult for many people and the increases in seasonal depression and anxiety are alarming.

Social media has opened conversations to increase awareness on this topic and people are encouraged to share more than ever which is a very positive sign. For people who may not be able to afford or face traditional counselling, it is a wonderful forum to talk about the things in our heads that can cause us to worry or give up.

Seasonal depression can sneak up on you when the days are dark and dreary and some days it can be difficult to even poke your head out of your front door.

The reason so many people take vacations this time of year is to perk up their spirits and to grab some sunshine to get through January and February. But what about those who can’t afford a vacation or aren’t comfortable or anxious about travelling? For those, a pick me up can start at home.

Nothing lifts the spirits like sound, sight and smell and we can incorporate these items in our own homes easily and affordably. Inexpensive excursions such as your local pool or one evening in a hotel with a hot tub will also help you feel like you have jetted away to more tropical climes – but let’s get back home for a minute.

Indulge yourself with citrus of all kinds – essential oils, candles and the real thing.

Lemons and limes are wonderful to have at home and are always handy to make a refreshing drink. Citrus has long been known to encourage calm, peace and hopefulness and it is an instant lift to your senses.

Cheerful in sight and scent, these citrus fruits will recharge your batteries even on the darkest days and are a small investment in health and happiness.

Using the citrus palette in a room where tasks can be boring like kitchens or laundry areas will encourage you to spend more time in these areas and will work to brighten your day and lighten your load.

Download and fill your home with the sounds of a spirited mariachi band or some tracks that transport you to the Hawaiian Islands.

It is a temporary retreat but it can help to lift you out of the doldrums. Who says you can’t make a frosty margarita in January? Plan a tropical evening where you indulge on pineapple and coconut yogurt smoothies and watch old reruns of Magnum P.I. and mentally whisk yourself away to the place where palm trees grow. Spread on some suntan lotion for added scent effect.

When life looks and feels grey, it’s time to add a little colour and creative to your days for a quick pick me up.

Saunter around your home in a fluffy white terry robe as you sip a cocktail and listen to tropical waves on the shore. It is a cheap vacation and it might just give you that lift to ride the wave all the way through to spring. Perk up your home with some bright colours and catch as much sunlight as you can, even on chilly days.

Kim Wyse is a Central Alberta freelance designer. Find her on facebook at ‘Ask a Realtor/Ask a Designer’.