Mullygrubs and Other Moody Maladies

To everything there is a time. And this time of year is particularly prone to seasonal maladies of one kind or another. When the calendar reaches February, we realize that the holidays are over and spring is still a dream or two away. Even with "daylight savings time" our daylight dwindles to precious few hours, and the nights seem to be very long. It’s the time of year when we all - at one time or another - get what I call the "mullygrubs." (My spell checker is going crazy, but it’s MY word and you know what I mean.)

Instead of over-eating and under-exercising, let’s throw all caution to the wind and do something productive that will make us feel better! Ready? OK, first things first. Turn on the lights - as many as it takes to give a glow to your surroundings. No matter what time of day or night you’re reading this, turn on the lights. And while you’re at it, light a few candles! Now that we’re cozy, let’s make a plan. Let’s plan to do something in our house/apartment/condo/loft that will brighten up the place.

No money to redecorate? No problem - we’ll just move a few things around - shake things up a bit. Take that travel brochure out of the drawer and put it on the coffee table. Pull out that box of vacation photos that you’ve been meaning to organize and go through them. Look at that - you’re smiling while you remember what fun you had at the beach, on the boat, at grandma’s sitting around that big picnic table. Why, the ground in that backyard is actually green.

Rearrange furniture. It’s therapeutic, really. Even if you just move a chair closer to the window where the light can stream in and "hit" the person sitting in that chair, it’s a therapeutic move. Put some books next to the chair. Stack them in the floor! It’s an instant design statement. Nothing makes a room feel more comfortable than books. Add a soft cushion to the chair, an afghan maybe and stand back and take a look at the vignette you just created. That chair never looked better.

A friend of mine told me recently that in the dead of winter, she buys fresh flowers to give herself and her house a boost. It works for her - perhaps it will work for you too. No way you can get to the store to buy fresh flowers? Got some snappy colored silk flowers in the closet? Get them out and put them on the table.

If everything looks tired, it will probably make you feel tired. That’s a symptom of the winter blues. So shake things up by exchanging the accessories in one room for those in another. Move the picture that’s been hanging over your couch into the bedroom and fill the living room wall with one from the guest bedroom or the hallway. Be creative. Yes, it takes some energy, but like most things, once you begin (and that takes some courage) you’ll be zipping around in no time. It’s my bet that once you start, you will come up with some ideas of your own.

Whether you’re in the mood to paint, or just want to "plan" your spring painting chores, do it now. One trip to the home improvement store or the local paint and hardware can give you a plethora of paint color samples. Just holding them under the light will give you a "feeling" about the color. Take note of what that feeling is, and you will have some indication of how the "room will feel" bathed in that color.

The winter "blues" set in when we give in to the cold, so we need to think and see warm. Blues and greens are "cool" colors - reds and yellows are warm colors. Think about sunrise and sunset. Think of the embers in a crackling fire. Those colors are warm, soothing, and comfortable. Want to stimulate your dinner guests? Choose red for your dining room. It’s exciting, inviting and "warm". Afraid of red-red? Fine - choose burgundy or pink or eggplant. They’re all in the red family and they do the very same thing - excite and

invigorate. Prefer yellow? Sunny yellow is actually a color you know. It’s great in a kitchen; it’s great in a dining room. When someone is seated in a sunny yellow room or a red one, they have a nice glow about them. That’s contagious too.

If you’re still a bit blue, or you just prefer to think in terms of green and blue and cool colors like that, then at least think of warm, salty oceans and picturesque skies without a cloud in sight. Create a nice "aroma" in your house by either simmering potpourri, mulled cider in the crock-pot or a pot of freshly brewed coffee or tea. Aromatherapy really helps shake the blues.

If you try nothing else, try this next trick. The next time you’re at the grocery store, buy an entire bag of lemons. Fill a crystal clear bowl with them and set it in your kitchen, your dining room or next to the travel brochure on your coffee table. Voila - instant sunshine! And for those of you who aren’t yellow people, try it anyway. It’s another instant designer trick, just like the stacked books. Now - aren’t you feeling better? Good. Keep the bird feeders filled, the pets warm and safe, and do one more little thing for me - flip that calendar over to March and know that it’s only a few days away!

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