finance, Health, Living

I’ve Got the February Blues

Ah February. A month that is jam-packed with activities and yet kind of unremarkable. The one big shining event this year is that it is my husband’s 30th, which is giving us an excuse for a quick weekend getaway. Apart from that, February is always one of those odd transition months for me – the weather is crap but the day’s are getting longer type of thing. Every year I go through a bit of a slump mentally, emotionally and financially at this time, so I’ve taken steps this year to turn it around.

What a wonderful craft – maybe my Kindergarten class could make it!

Credit Cards at Home

January was an austere month for me on purpose, in order to recover from the holidays. It appears that what many bloggers say is true: if you are too strict, it will all blow up on you one day and you will buy like crazy. I can’t confess to a huge shopping binge, but I have noticed in my spending tracker that I’ve been very fast and loose with the tap feature on my credit card. Coffees here, new unnecessary workout gear there. For the remainder of the month, not counting the weekend away, I am going to leave the credits cards at home in order to not have a money hangover when I do my monthly check up on March 1st.

On a side note, I used to panic at the idea of not having my credit cards with me at all times. What if an emergency happens?! Truth to be told, on a regular day I am never so far away from my house that I couldn’t just walk back and get them, or at the very least phone a few friends or family for help. There are very few situations which immediately require a credit card, and realizing that has made me relax about the whole thing.

New Strength Training Program

Over the past couple of years I have been dabbling in different diet and exercise regimes. What works best for me is eating actual food (food that I know exactly what it is, no weird unpronounceable ingredients) and strength training. I have always been a strong girl, but now the focus is on pushing the envelope while toning everything up. I’ve been reading a new book that has a 16-week program, and today is my first day of that. Hopefully I’ll be able to report some progress on this down the line.

We all know exercise makes us feel way better. I am continuing to walk to work (today it’s through a foot of snow! Yay?) and play soccer, but getting out of the February slump will require a bit more structure. On this program I hope to be able to mark down progress every week as inspiration.

View from my neighbourhood. It’s a little gloomy at the moment.

Minimal Screen Time

I’ve only recently discovered the orange light filter on my electronic devices. These are set from sundown to sunup to tint the light orange in order to help reduce disruptions to my circadian rhythm. Whether they work or not is up for debate but I like the placebo effect it is definitely giving me. However, it has given me the excuse to stay on my screens for a lot longer than is ideal. For the remainder of the month I am striving to read more books, go for more evening walks, cook without tv for company, and to actually talk to my husband when he gets home.

I never feel good after a night of binge watching. I have a sore back, my eyes hurt and I’ve even started to get minor headaches, which can’t be a good sign. It is just a way to pass the time, and now that I am nearly the ripe old age of 31 I don’t want to just “pass the time” with mindless entertainment. I’d rather use my time to learn, to improve, and to get closer to those I care about.

Screw Valentine’s Day

And my final push to beat the February blues is to completely ignore Valentine’s Day. I may buy the discounted chocolate on the 15th, but apart from that I want nothing to do with it. My husband’s birthday is actually on the 14th, which is a wonderful distraction from the day of cards, candy, and forced displays of affection. No thank you, Valentine’s Day.

All of these are easily actionable steps, and putting them into practise could be very helpful in keeping the remainder of the month productive and happy. I used to scoff at lists like this, until I realized that I found them very helpful. I am learning new things all the time now!

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