Keeping Positive During The Ugly Winter

I hear all the time that I spoil my cat.  I actually do agree with this. I spend more on his needs than on my own and I’m fine with that. I just love going into Petsmart and picking up things for him. He got a lot of stuff yesterday, as you can see from the picture 😀  I actually love to spoil him. My thinking is, if you adopt a pet, then why not spoil it?  

I’ve mentioned this time and again, but it’s true, pets really do bring a comfort and sense of love into the home that might not otherwise exist without them.  He keeps me a bit more positive during the winter. Except today he hid in a bag and scratched my foot as I walked by….I wasn’t very positive after he did that…

I am honestly counting down the days until springtime. We are almost just one month away and I’ve heard that the meteorological winter is just about over. I sure hope that’s true. Being stuck inside all the time is not good for the mind or body! Even my buddy Chester is struggling. I took him outside a couple of times, but it’s not the same as being able to sit in front of a warm, open window, the sun beating down on him.  I could tell he was getting depressed, so I had to make sure he was getting some fresh air and sunlight, even though it’s cold outside.

As someone with a phobia and who has OCD, winter time is difficult for me. I’ve read on emetephobia help sites that many people with this phobia, which for me fuels OCD, is cyclically worse in winter. With the increase in illness and disease, I try to stay inside my house as much as possible. During the warmer months, I will try to be out in nature as much as possible.  It helps to have my kitty to keep me company and honestly, for some entertainment because he is so eccentric and funny.

Remembering to stay positive during these ugly months, especially during an ugly, gray Indiana winter, is not always easy to do. I mean it literally is gray here.

20150215_135641There have been weeks on end where the sun never shined. It was just an ugly, cloudy haze. I hate it.  Maybe this helps you see how it’s difficult for me to remain positive here.  One thing that I think has been helping me is avoiding things that I know are triggers.  By avoiding these triggers, I have been able to better focus on the things that make me happy and that are good and not stressful. These triggers for me make my OCD worse. I perform rituals much more when I am exposed to these things. Here are some of the triggers I’ve been avoiding:

  • Watching the news. Seems like all they ever talk about is some sort of disease that’s spreading around. Just, no.
  • Going out with friends or acquaintances. I constantly worry about other people’s cleanliness and controlling K’s movements and what he touches as well as doing this for myself. It’s too stressful to handle.
  • Have guests in my home. No way. It just seems like anyone who ever comes here ends up being sick with something like the next day. My home is my safe place. I can’t compromise that.
  • Looking around while driving. I tend to look around while driving, meaning that my eyes are not fixed on the car ahead.  I get this honest from my dad. This has caused me to see things that other people might not see and pay attention to things that I definitely don’t wanna see. I’ve seen people getting sick on the side of the road more times than I care to admit. That traumatizes me for days, so I’ve stopped looking around while driving.
  • Eating at restaurants.  Food borne illness or just a dirty facility is something I can’t handle thinking about.
  • Going to anyone else’s house.
  • Eating food not prepared by me.

Avoiding these things has seemed to bring my stress levels down quite a bit. I know some of them are strange to you, but my mind isn’t always rational and these things can spiral out of control in my mind, so it’s best to just avoid them at this time.

I have taken steps to be more positive and to try to enjoy the winter months. I can be pretty grouchy when I’m uncomfortable and that really affects the positivity in my household, thus stress levels skyrocket for both K and me.  Here are some things I’ve been working on to make me happier and more positive about life:

  • Exercising daily. I’ve already mentioned Blogilates here.  Exercising is also good to keep me from dying from heart disease, which all of my grandparents had. Yay…. 😦
  • Eating healthier. Since exercising, I feel better about myself, my body isn’t as weak and tired, and I am motivated to eat better foods. Today I am making a slow cooker vegetable soup recipe and it’s so healthy and looks/smells awesome.  The other night, I made Cassey Ho’s 2 ingredient banana pancakes. They are so good and easy to make. Here’s all you need to do: Take 1 banana and smash it, beat in 2 eggs, and then cook them like pancakes on a griddle or in a skillet with coconut oil. Voila! You have really easy, healthy, gluten-free pancakes. I added cinnamon to mine because I love cinnamon, especially in pancakes. Mine were not quite as pretty as her’s, but they tasted great. Here’s what mine looked like: 20150214_135922
  • Increasing my vitamin C intake. EmergenC and orange juice are my new friends. I have so much energy after drinking EmergenC. I just love that stuff.
  • Blogging more. It helps fill the void of not going out or meeting people.
  • Crocheting more. This is my go-to stress relief activity.
  • Smiling more. This is a big one. Fake it till you make it!  Believe or not, that really does go a long way.
  • Making a conscious effort to not complain and be grouchy. This is a hard one for me. My mom and K know my exact “Megan faces” and they are usually of me grimacing and being grouchy. I need to rebrand the “Megan face.”

What are some ways that you try to remain positive? I enjoyed sharing these things with you. I hope this post was a bit interesting!



45 thoughts on “Keeping Positive During The Ugly Winter

  1. Megan, thanks for mentioning Blogilates! It looks really neat. I liked your list of triggers–I have some of the same–my worst is the food handling by others. It doesn’t make me a very fun person since I hate eating out. I like all the positive things you are doing to get through the tortuous wintertime. It’s always my toughest time of year. Great post!

    1. It is really enjoyable for a workout routine. I’m loving it so far and feel so much better about myself. I’m not much of a fun person either because I’d rather stay home than go out

  2. Having a positive relationship with your cat can be soothing. Just remember that dogs have owners, but cats have staff.
    I find that doing something for someone else that pleases them, no matter how large or small, helps me to feel better. You don’t have to go out of your house to email loving notes to people, or to give free donations of food for animals online,or books to children online, or to veterans online. When I look at photographs of places I have loved, or of nature, it calms me down. I can look at sunny places when it is cloudy out. I don’t blog a lot because I have family and friends that I talk to or care for. The world is filled with opportunities to give of oneself, and that, to me, helps.

    1. So true! Chester owns me. I often say he has me trained 🙂 Cats are so funny in that way. You gave me some really good ideas of how I can help others in the comfort of my home! I was also thinking of crocheting things for the local animal shelter, such as beds and blankets and toys, and sending them with a coworker who volunteers there. Thank you for the suggestions!

  3. One of my cats, Bear, loves to find new places to hide in and watch the apartment from. So my bf bought him a little carpet hiding hole and put it on our highest bar countertop and he just loves it. 🙂 I also just got a job at a veterinary hospital (I know that would freak you out!) and I have so much fun spoiling new animals every day. 🙂 Don’t worry, I’m not exposed to the really sick ones, just the check ups, boarders, baths, stuff like that.

    It was nice to read your list, I need to make one myself! I am in a lot of pain waiting for a dental surgery so I am beyond dreary right now. I think crocheting will help take my mind off the pain if I can do it on my painkiller.

    1. Cats love high up places, so that’s a great idea for your cat 🙂 Chester has a perch that my mom and I built and it’s about 4.5 feet high and he loves to just sit up there and monitor his kingdom. I actually would love to work with animals! I have a difficult time with animal death though. I hope you don’t have to experience that too much. Feel better soon! I hope your surgery goes well.

  4. Megan, you spoil Chester all you want.. He is blessed to have you care for him, as there are so many cats that are neglected. I am feeling better too by getting in a couple of good workouts a week. Much better than I had been doing. I am paying attention a bit more on what I am consuming, but there is still room for improvement. Reading my daily devotional and getting in some peaceful words into my spirit helps and then photography is ever calming and shopping and finding things on sale helps too…

    1. I think it’s weird if someone doesn’t spoil their pet 😦 How could you not? Isn’t that what they are for? 🙂 I agree, working out regularly can do wonders for the body. It just takes motivation to get up and actually do it, which is the hardest part.

  5. I cannot imagine living alone without my cat! She keeps me company and is such a comfort on hard days. I’m glad you have a cat friend to brave the winter with!

  6. My pets get spoiled more than my kids did. How can you not spoil and love something that looks at you with liquid brown eyes and be there for you when no one else can be?
    You need to do things that help you stay stress free. Winter can be a depressing time. I like the sunshine and if it needs to rain and stay cloudy for longer than I think it should be, than I get really moody. I feel for you, but remember spring is on it’s way. I am ready for it. Have a good week. 🙂

    1. I agree. It just doesn’t even make sense to not spoil a pet. And yes, Spring is just around the corner! I’m so looking forward to going outside and photographing the spring flowers 🙂

  7. Listening to music is a good one! I like classical music mostly and actually don’t enjoy other types of music. I’m kind of strange in that regard. Looking on the bright side is a wonderful way to remain positive 🙂 Thanks for your suggestions!

  8. My husband just stepped on one of my dog’s squeaky toys and did a phenomenal Riverdance move that had me in stitches. I think for me, is trying to find laughter someplace throughout my day. Hearing my voice in a chuckle makes me feel human.

  9. I’m like you in that I avoid watching the news on TV – it’s too in my face with bad news all the time. I prefer to keep up to date by reading an online newspaper that way I can choose what goes into my head (not great having an overactive imagination). Hope spring comes quickly! Jean

  10. When I’m feeling cooped up (a lot this winter!) I get out a favorite record (usually an oldie with some life in it–not too soothing!), crank up the volume, and walk around the house and up and down the stairs for about 20 minutes or more. It gets me going and lifts my spirits. Even though it’s a substitute for walking outside, it works! Also, if Smudge (my cat!) is in the mood for a little chase, he gets going out in front of me and just goes crazy. Something in him likes to be the hunted prey sometimes! So I give it to him–stomping and half-running, letting him think he’s about to be gobbled up by a mountain lion or something. He loves it!

    I like your two lists of things to do and not do. Great boundaries and some healthy positives!

    1. I agree, that is a great idea for boosting your energy and endorphin levels in the winter 🙂 I wish I had stairs. I bet Chester would be so funny on stairs 🙂 Smudge sounds really cute.

      1. Smudge is full of it! And yes, stairs are a hoot, too! They’re wooden, and have one small landing to negotiate. So Smudge hurls himself down the steps, skids around the corner and lands running like crazy! I think he loves adrenalin highs!

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