Winter Blahs: Beat'em, don't join 'em #winterblues #seasons #hope
Winter Blahs: Beat'em, don't join 'em
The astronomical winter (Northern Hemisphere) begins on Saturday, December 21, 2013 and ends on Wednesday, March 19, 2014 (Google). That's three months on paper, maybe longer depending on Mother Nature. Did you just grin or groan? I groaned, and then grinned when I reminded myself that at least I don't live somewhere that winter sinks her teeth in even longer. (Gotta stay positive you know?)
Winter can have a huge impact on income if the season slows us down. Yes, a bit of slowing down can be nice, but for stay at home professionals (such as writers) the flow of work can be seriously affected if we can't get out of bed.
Despite the beauty of snow covered landscapes and white covering city streets, many people dread winter. Myself included. I I did manage the winter blahs for most of my life by an active career that kept me moving, raising kids who loved the snow and then living in warmer climates for a few years. (That was a treat :))
Then everything changed. I became a writer & relocated to colder climes. The job that kept me on my feet for so many years had been replaced with a job that found me sitting for long hours. The children that dragged me outdoors were off on their own. I no longer HAD to go out unless I wanted Most winter days I didn't want to.
I am grateful for my more solitary, free lifestyle, but I was aware that I had to take some conscious steps to keep myself active in winter. Keep myself moving in order to write. Otherwise my livelihood would be non existent.
I somehow struggled through the last 2 winters. I wrote my latest book HEART OF THE HURRICANE while battling the blah's. The main character suffers from depression, something I could relate to. The past 2 winters were not easy so when spring came I vowed to NOT go through another winter like that. I decided to get a grip on the winter blahs once and for all.
While researching seasonal depression and winter blues I found many suggestions and therapies. Since I try to live as holistically as possible I went straight for the natural remedies.I already used many supplements, so adding to the list was an easy step for me. I found several supplements and herbs that really worked for me. Now armed with Mother Nature, I feel confident that this winter will be much easier.
*** I am NOT a health care or mental health professional. If you have serious winter blues/depression PLEASE seek help from a professional. For mild winter blues here are my suggestions:
Despite craving sweets and carbs, keep the consumption to a minimum. Make a conscious effort NOT to buy foods that you know will lead to poor eating habits. You are less likely to zip out to the store during bad weather if you have a crazy craving, therefore, do not buy your trigger foods in the first place. And of course you know that abusing alcohol and drugs is NOT an effective way to manage moods. If they worked I'd do em!
Instead, research mood boosting foods. Buy them & eat them. Some foods CAN give you more energy. You want foods that contain more of these-
Omega 3's, Folate, B Complex, Vitamin D
In addition to my year round supplements & herbs (which include probiotics, magnesium & herbal tinctures), I add extra St. John's Wort, Golden Flax seed, Omega 3's, Vitamin D, and Vitamin C to the repertoire.
You can go online and find a myriad of holistic sites that can recommend dosages and other supplements/ herbs.
(Tip: I found that starting St. John's Wort & Vitamin D in the fall works best) Also, check your health insurance pharmaceutical coverage. All except a handful of my supplements were covered by my insurance ( I pay a small copay for each). You simply need a prescription from your doctor.
Less light adds to lack of energy. Some people use electric light therapy systems. Others get outside for at least an hour EVERY DAY. And since you won't be sun bathing, that outside time consists of the next suggestion...
Forms of exercise are a very personal thing. I applaud all of them. My personal exercise of choice has been and always will be walking. The human body is made to walk. Period. It is free, we know how to do it, no special equipment required, it can be done solo, it releases tons of serotonin, ideas can really flow while walking (great for writers!), it can be done almost anywhere and at any age
If for some crazy reason you're not into walking then try a gym. Some have winter specials, or try the local Y. I definitely don't recommend spending a lot of money on home equipment unless you are sure you will use it. You would be better off buying an inexpensive set of snow shoes and walking around the local park or in the woods if you live away from a city.
The important thing is to get your body moving EVERY DAY. A body in motion has more energy, feels better, and helps you sleep at night.
Meditate, pray, read your spiritual texts, or whatever it is that uplifts you and keeps you connected to the Universe. If you don't have a centering technique then now is a good time to discover one. You have all winter to explore it.
Listening to music can boost your mood or bum you out. Choose lighter music, heart centered instrumentals, and music that lifts your spirit. Snappy music could also lead to dancing, which of course is exercise & therefore good for you :-)
STAY CONNECTED TO OTHERS
Sounds kind of funny coming from a happy loner but it's true: staying connected to even a small number of people is good for us. Not saying you have to surround yourself with a gaggle of people or attend crowded events, but small gatherings, one on one coffee get together's, and short phone calls can make a huge difference in our spiritual and mental health.
Writing therapy has been shown to help with the winter blues. Good news for writers right? So pick up that pen, or type away EVERY DAY. Writing will help you release pent up emotion, stimulate your brain, and help you feel productive.
I TRULY hope you find the beauty among the ice and snow. I will be making a conscious effort to not let myself hibernate too much, to get out there EVERY DAY, and appreciate this weird season. Besides seriously, if we all hibernated, how would we create our next great masterpiece?
p.s. I still kinda feel like this though...: > )
May's book HEART OF THE HURRICANE at Big World Network: