Cures For The Mean Reds and The Winter Blues

Cures For The Mean Reds and The Winter Blues

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Ashley Poskin
Jan 7, 2015
(Image credit: Breakfast At Tiffany's screen cap)

I've seen Breakfast at Tiffany's a million times, but it wasn't until just recently the "mean reds" line really stuck with me.

"You know those days when you get the mean reds?
The mean reds, you mean like the blues?
No. The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long; you’re just sad, that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling? …Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it. Nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then — then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name!”

No matter where I've lived in the world, I've somehow found my "mean reds" happy place pretty easily. When I lived in Savannah, GA, I'd escape to the beach and relax in a tide pool. The sun was warm, I was alone, and I felt connected and calm. In Denver, it was my favorite greenhouse. It sat just outside the city and was rarely busy, I was surrounded by gorgeous succulents and the temperature inside was warm, balmy and constant.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

I'd like to think that the older we get (and the more furniture we buy) the less we get that "mean reds" feeling as a result of settling down and finding balance. I think its somewhat true, I know I don't get it quite as often anymore, but I still get it. And I think it's a good thing, it means, in some crazy way, that we are never satisfied; we are always trying to work harder and be better. And if the side effect of being our best is dealing with the mean reds once in awhile, we should embrace it and be prepared for it.

I've found myself in the middle of the United States this winter without a beach, greenhouse, or sunshine, so I'm working on creating one room in my home that can be my own personal "mean reds" safe haven. I'm filling it with color, down pillows, mirrors to bounce around any light that might creep in, heavy blankets, lush, green plants, and things that remind me of the warmth of summer.

If you don't have a Tiffany's window to stand in front of or a beach to escape to, there are many other great ways to combat the reds and blues from the comfort of your home:

  • Take in as much sunshine as you can. If your region is relatively gloomy during the winter months, purchase a Light therapy box. Many professionals who sit at their computer and work from home all day swear by this.
  • Wake up with a Sunrise Alarm Clock -everyday will be a bright, sunshiny day!
  • Dance. Boost those endorphins and get happy.
  • Stick to a schedule. Wake up at the same time every day and go to bed at the same time. Don't fall victim to those 3am trips down memory lane with no one awake to talk to.
  • Buy plants. Grow an herb garden in your kitchen window, or adjust your grocery budget so that you can purchase fresh flowers every week
  • Be social, no matter how badly you don't want to be. Don't hibernate- throw regularly scheduled dinner parties or a monthly brunch to keep the funk from creeping up on you.
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

How do you ward off the "mean reds" and "winter blues"?

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