For many, it has not been an easy start to 2019. The longest government shutdown in U.S. history definitely took a psychological toll on most of us in DC, not to mention the devastating economic impact across various industries here. On top of that, freezing temperatures have caused major delays or school closures in this region, and unless you are seemingly immune to the cold, this weather is not inspiring many of us to venture outdoors for long. This creates the perfect storm for what I refer to as the Winter Blues.

As tempting as it may be to just wrap yourself in a blanket, order meal delivery and binge watch on your sofa all day, honestly the best way to combat those feelings of isolation, boredom or lack of direction in your life is to motivate yourself to complete at least 3 tasks a day. For example: cook at least one meal a day, get to the gym, and make plans to connect with at least one friend/colleague. If you stick to this, when you complete your tasks you will feel so good that hopefully you will want to repeat the experience the next day, picking another 3 tasks you can tackle, and ideally this momentum will keep building.

Another good tip is to build in rewards for yourself. So if you hate organizing your closets/drawers, try to have a prize in mind that will give you something to look forward to at the end of that task. If getting your tax documents together is a painful experience, then maybe plan a lunch date with a friend at the end of the week to celebrate the completion of that unpleasant yet necessary assignment.

They say that misery does enjoy company– and if you can manage to convince other members of your household to help with the difficult chores on your list, you will find the time goes much faster and together you’ll develop a better appreciation of each other’s efforts. (Just watch a few episodes of “Tidying Up” with Marie Kondo on Netflix, if you need a visual reference.)

It is my sincere hope that brighter, much warmer days are right around the corner with no more government or school shutdowns, but in the meantime take the opportunity if you have it to make your days at home as productive as possible– clean out those disaster areas, get your financial documents in order and nail down a few fantastic recipes you can soon impress some dinner guests with once milder climates set in.