In which we’re banishing winter bleurghs

Ah, February–the short, dark month full of blah. (I honestly don’t know anyone who claims it as their favorite month.) The glitter and warmth of the holidays are behind us, but spring seems SO far away. What we need this month is a toolbox of tricks for making the days seem a little brighter. Here are a few of my faves:

*Changing up the screensaver/wallpaper to something new–either a dazzling snowy scene or something completely the opposite: tropical beaches, spring flowers, baby animals. Just switching up the images you see on a regular basis can help boost your energy levels. While you’re at it, consider changing out some of the photos you have framed around the house or office. Pull out postcards from pals or vacation pics to freshen things up.

*Liberal use of citrus oils. I’m a BIG fan of grapefruit oil–I burn it in an oil burner whenever I’m in need of an energy boost–but any of the citrus oils will do. Lemon and tangerine are lovely, just mind the tangerine since it’s VERY orange and liable to stain. Check the label to see if your oils are safe to apply directly to skin. If not, dilute with sweet almond oil or grapeseed and add to the bath or rub onto your pulse points. Shake a few drops onto your HVAC filter when you change it. (I also do this with lavender which makes the house smell like a spa, but be cautious! A little goes a very long way.) Rub a few drops onto the top of an unscented candle just before you light it.

*Plants in every room. I have a notorious black thumb but I’ve found my perfect match–orchids. Yes, I know. They’re very fussy and I shouldn’t be able to keep them alive, but I do. Indirect sunlight, a few ice cubes in the pot each week for water, and that’s it. I have them in three rooms of the house, white and purple ones, and they are infallible for cheering up a place. I also bought a pot of mixed herbs from my grocery store, and while I killed off the thyme, the sage and rosemary are coming along beautifully. I popped it into a living room window with good morning light and turn it when I think about it. Bonus? It smells divine.

*Fresh candles. I put away the peppermint and pumpkin candles from the holidays and the autumn in favor of leathery and herbal scents. (The best candle I bought last year was from a company I can’t recall. It was titled “Leather Boots” and it smelled exactly like fresh leather.)

*Changing up pens. I’ve weeded out my drawers and pen cup, tossing out the dried up and nearly empty. I’ve refilled with fine-point markers in glorious colors and a set of pink rollerballs filled with black ink. Office supplies in general can be so DULL; I buy color whenever I can. (If you haven’t checked out Staples in awhile, DO. They’ve partnered with several designers to create what are almost mini-boutiques within the store–all full of files, notebooks, and other supplies in a range of gorgeous colors and themes.)

*Mixing up peppermint water. Everyone knows to hydrate in hot weather, but it’s also important to do it this time of year–when the central heat is reducing your sinuses to the Mojave. I add a drop of peppermint extract to a big glass of water to make it a little more interesting.