“Why I Dread Feb”
…and what I plan to do about it this year
-Melina Gerosa Bellows
I’ve always hated February, and I always will. While the rest of the months each have their charms, February has no redeeming qualities, not to mention a Napoleonic complex. The light deprivation, the icky weather, Mother Nature at her crudest–she’s clearly pissed at February, too–the whole scene makes me S.A.D. Despite the lightbox on my desk, and a membership at a hot-yoga studio, this year I need a Survival Plan. Here are 28 ways to cope.
1. Find Inspiration: Take poet Mary Oliver’s advice to ‘Let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.’ Combat this month’s blahs by turning within to sybaritic pleasures. If it feels good, do it.
2. Flower Therapy: Tulips, pink stargazer lilies, cheerful daffodils. Every week treat yourself to a colorful bunch of fresh flowers. Buy them right before the weekend for maximum enjoyment.
3. Blazing Fires. Seat yourself before a blazing hearth and watch the flames Riverdance.
4. Red wine. Let’s face it; a goblet of big Cab or bold Shiraz does not have the same appeal in the sweltering heat of August. (Note: Perfect complement to suggestion 2.)
5. Cozy, flannel pajamas. In Feb., not for night time only.
6. Have a Spa Day at your gym. Try something new, like a t’ai chi class or a different cardio machine. Then use the sauna and steam rooms and take your time doing the perfect blow-dry.
7. Retail Therapy. Go to the Gap (or H &M) and buy brightly colored long sleeve cotton t-shirts. Layer them. See how many days you can go without wearing black or gray or anything blah.
8. Make yourself a truffled grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup for lunch. (Truffle cheese is available at Whole Foods, Costco or your fave gourmet market)
9. Break out the fat jeans. (Perhaps the single positive about February is that the bikinis are safely tucked away.)
10. Have your own film festival. Spend a dreary day watching one DVD after another.
11. Go ice-skating with friends. When you land on your butt, be the first to laugh.
12. Cashmere. Splurge on a sweater or throw or socks in a yummy color (mango, periwinkle, cobalt).
13. Indulge in a box of Godiva truffles. Savor one every night after dinner.
14. Buy a box of silly Valentines. Send them to all of your girlfriends (and one person you secretly admire).
15. Spend an afternoon people watching at a café over a steaming bowl of café au lait.
16. Splurge on a luxurious moisturizer. Banish alligator arms, gnarly knees and flaky face.
17. Fill your fridge with organic fruits, veggies and freshly squeezed juices. Try a different color with every meal.
18. Manicures and pedicures all month long. This is absolutely not the time to add to the ugliness with chipped red or peeling cuticles.
19. Banish the Sunday blahs by hosting little dinner parties. Make my friend Tricia’s Cinnamon Beef Stew.
20. Research the perfect vacation for next Feb.
21. Bundle up and go for a long walk in the woods. Appreciate nature in its most minimal state (think Calvin Klein), and notice the beautiful patterns the bare tree branches make against the sky.
22. Start your memoirs. Read Abigail Thomas’s tiny, jewel of a book ,Thinking About Memoir. Sample Exercise: Write about the last time you wore something totally inappropriate.
23. Have a tea party. Break out the fancy china, serve pastel colored cupcakes (take the February issue of Martha Stewart Living to the local baker and say ‘Copy this’). Invite only girls.
24. Listen to Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons.” Marvel at how the violins of “Winter” really do sound like snow.
25. Have a friend give you a makeup makeover. Give away all of the stuff you are no longer using.
26. Slather on the self-tanner during President’s Day Weekend. Pretend you went to St. Bart’s. Buy yourself a pair of large cubic zirconia studs. When someone asks where you got them, wink and whisper, “I’d better not say.”
27. Enter your favorite songs into the web site Pandora. Make a playlist of the new songs Pandora suggests based on your faves.
28. Soak in a Farewell February bath. Bring your flowers, candles and music into the bathroom. Relax in a scented tub, slather on the moisturizer, jump into your coziest pajamas and get into bed early. Congratulations, you made it. Happy March!
Melina Gerosa Bellows is a best-selling author and a leading magazine editor. She is a columnist-blogger for BettyConfidential.com.