When I was in college, some friends and I used to joke that February should be abolished. Although it’s the shortest month of the year, it usually feels the longest. As a native Californian living in the very different climate of Boston, I was ready for winter to be over in February, but the long New England season had other plans. Somehow I always felt some degree of despair in February. Sometimes it was more of a vague feeling of discontent; sometimes it was very specific and difficult, like the year I had an emergency appendectomy and developed debilitating depression in the weeks following the surgery.
So I think it’s a brilliant idea to mark the midpoint of winter with a list of things that are saving my life right now—things keeping me sane, things keeping me on the more optimistic side of the attitudinal spectrum. Anne of Modern Mrs. Darcy shared her list yesterday and is hosting a link-up for others to do the same. I remember reading her post about it last year, and so this year I’ve decided to join in and make my own list:
- Collagen and coconut butter in the mornings. I’m rarely hungry when I wake up, but whether blended into my morning tea or eaten on the side in the form of a cake batter collagen protein bar, getting a little protein and fat into me has helped me get moving in the mornings.
- Cooking huge batches of food. Not spending excessive amounts of time in the kitchen while still having food ready to eat at all times makes the AIP about a thousand times easier.
- On a similar note: chicken liver pâté. When I get hungry in the late afternoon, I no longer reach for something sweet; I eat some pâté with carrots, radishes or apples. It fuels me until dinner without starting up the blood sugar roller coaster. Bonus: it’s packed with incredible nutrition!
- My new heat therapy neck pillow. My old pillow was broken beyond repair, and I went several weeks without. A few days ago I sewed myself a new one and filled it with organic buckwheat. When my neck and shoulders feel tight after a day of too much sitting, I pop it in the microwave, put it on my shoulders, and let the heat work its magic.
- Getting off Facebook. I logged out of Facebook on my computer and deleted the app from my phone at the beginning of January. I suspected I would feel better, but I never imagined just how much better I would feel. I’ve logged in only once in the past month to check notifications. I probably could have skipped it: there was nothing important.
- A temporary screen time ban for my kids. My children are on week two of a complete ban on screen time. This is not a punishment; I simply noticed that they were so obsessed with when and how much screen time they were allowed to take that it was practically the only thing they talked about. So I said we’d be taking a break. To my surprise, they didn’t protest at all. My oldest even seemed relieved. Within 36 hours, the effect was palpable: no meltdowns, less whining, more imaginative play, and generally much happier children. It’s so much more pleasant being around them, and I think they feel much better, too.
- My InstantPot. I use it nearly every day, and I can’t imagine my life without it anymore. I even took it on vacation a few months ago and plan on doing so again.
Making a list like this is a little like having a gratitude practice. Sometimes just thinking about the pleasant things in life makes it so much easier to bear the trying things. If you have a list of your own, you can share it at Modern Mrs. Darcy and go read the other lists that have already been posted there.