Break Winter Doldrums with $10 or Less

77005160It’s that time of year when winter begins to drag on and spring seems far, far away. If it feels like the sun has gone into permanent hibernation but a trip to warmer climes is out of the question, I found these budget-conscious pick-me-ups may lighten your mood.

  1. Put a few fresh flowers in your most-used rooms: kitchen, bath, bedroom. Little pots of primroses, blooming miniature daffodils, and daisies are inexpensive and plentiful and inexpensive this time of year.  Walking into a room with fresh flowers that lifts the senses.
  2. Have an indoor picnic for supper tonight. Spread a blanket or tablecloth on the living room floor—in front of the fireplace, if you have one.  Create a simple meal redolent of summer, whether that’s hot dogs and chips or wine and brie with a good loaf of bread. Play a little summertime music in the background.
  3. Buy a candle that smells like vacation. The mood-altering power of the olfactory nerve has been well documented. Try scents like coconut (sunscreen and pina coladas, anyone?), citrus, or something lightly floral. Put away the pine and bayberry candles till the holidays roll around again.
  4. Go to a movie in the middle of the day. It’s dark outside, anyway, right? There’s something deliciously decadent about ducking into a theatre while the rest of the world is out running errands and scrubbing their kitchen floors.
  5. Visit one of those places on your list. You know that list: the second-hand store you’ve always been curious about, the art museum, the little diner in the next town over with the funny name. Shake yourself out of your routine.
  6. Spend the day at the library. Libraries have re-invented themselves in the last decade. Always a luxurious haven of quiet exploration—for free! Now, most libraries offer a menu of programming with broad appeal: lectures, classes, concerts, author visits—still free! Check it out, and check out a few (free!) books or movies while you’re there.

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