I went to graduate school in a place that was very gloomy for about 5 months of the year. When winter came around, the sky became gray, snow blanketed the ground, and the trees lost all their leaves. We couldn’t wait until the summer!
Now, I live in a tropical country, where the sun might shine merrily, but where it gets extremely gloomy when the rainy season comes along. Sometimes, all I want to do is lie in my bed and sleep!
However, I also know that I can’t, and shouldn’t mope when things get all gray and boring. I need to create my own entertainment, and I learned that I could do fun things to help offset the boredom. If I wasn’t working on papers or napping, there were ways that I could cope with the cold, gloom, snow, or rain.
1. Bake or cook something new
My roommate and I always baked something new during winter days when we couldn’t make it out of the house. We would look for recipes online and then try them out. Not only did the house smell heavenly afterward, it also warmed up because the oven was on the whole day! We got to bake all sorts of cookies and muffins, not to mention cakes, when the winter was really harsh. Plus, we got to try a new recipe, which made the activity exciting.
Now at home, I still get to cook. I’ve started making stews and soups to while away the rainy hours, and to keep me warm if I have to come in from the floods. Cooking and baking relax me, and help me get rid of the stress of work, whether it’s winter or summer.
2. Mull wine or cider if it’s too cold
I’ve discovered that a little alcohol can go a long way in keeping me warm. I’ve also discovered that it’s even better to mull wine or cider. All I need to do is heat wine or cider over the stove, and simmer it with a stick of cinnamon, some cloves, and some nutmeg. The house smells heavenly afterward, without me having to do a lot of baking!
Drinking the mulled wine or cider is heavenly, too. I’ve had mulled wine or cider while watching TV, reading, or simply watching the rain or snow fall outside. It sure beats drinking just hot chocolate or tea!
3. Put the Angry Birds in their cages and play a board game!
An electronic game just doesn’t do it for me. Board games with friends and family, on the other hand, really can take away the winter or rainy gloom! Board games such as Scrabble, Monopoly, Life, and even the newer Settlers of Catan and Shadows Over Camelot are great ways to get your mind off the rain or snow. They’re also a great way for everyone to come together and do something together – and keep everyone smiling, too!
4. Do some “Open Writing”
Put pen to paper – or hands to keyboard – and just write. Don’t even think about grammar, syntax, story, plot, or structure. Just write!
Open writing is probably the biggest open secret of writers. We all have mental cobwebs and we’ve all been through writer’s block. But we can get over those obstacles by changing our mentality about writing. Instead of thinking of writing as a task, writing can be more fun if you “just do it” the way you just do anything else: by plunging headlong into it without thought.
My rainy or snowy days became more fun when I just wrote without thinking. I took out a lot of mental cobwebs and cleared my head – and I got rid of a lot of stress! I even discovered new plots in my spontaneously written stories – plots that eventually became novels.
5. Put on some dance tutorial videos…
And dance! Dance is a great way to warm yourself up and exercise, minus the boredom and tedium of simply walking your stress and cold away on the treadmill. Pick an instructional DVD, whether it’s zumba, bhangra, Bollywood, belly dance, or jazz. Pop it into your player and start learning! You’ll find yourself sweating and having fun even with the snow piling up outside.
These are only a few ways to while away a gloomy day without throwing in alcohol, too much sleep, or moping into the mix. I’m sure that you can think of other ways to kick the gloom out. For now, I’m going to write, bake, drink my cider, play my board game, and dance when it’s too blah out there. I shouldn’t be unhappy when the weather’s all sad – and neither should you!
Inez Ponce de Leon is a writer, science communicator, scientist, and belly dancer. She loves beaches, books, movies, and way too many things – hence, she writes way too much, too. She loves taking on a wide variety of topics, from how to critically look at Internet health claims such as procera avh, how to correctly read a healthy trim review.