The sun is in full swing away from us, taking with it warmth and sunlight that are energy sources for so many of us. Sometimes I joke that I’m solar powered, and that feels especially true in the winter months. It gets just a little harder to get out of bed in pitch-black mornings. Or to layer the clothes you required to brace the freezing air.
Those of you who’ve been my readers for a while know I’ve written about this two years ago. Feel free to check out my best tips for combating Seasonal Affective Disorder (aptly abbreviated SAD) if you’re new to the realization that you just cannot without the sun. In this blog entry, I’m adding the wisdom of another 2 winters of getting through it 🙂
1. Be consistent in your care.
Whether you work with routine or with systems, nothing is more important than to keep at it. After you identify those behaviors that keep your mood up in the cold months, try to prioritize them and incorporate them in your daily or weekly care routine.
Sometimes we bite more than we can chew and it becomes demoralizing to do it every day. Whatever self-care you plan for, make sure it can be achieved by tired you, sad you or numb you.
2. Do something you love every single day
This is a big one for me, because having those hours (or even minutes) of joy each day can power a lot of other not-so-pleasant activities. It helps to keep a journal or a list with favorite activities. After all, 9 months of dry pavement can make you forget how much you love sleigh rides. I’m sure many of us had days when brain fog made us forget what we even like doing.
But what if you don’t feel like doing anything? Well, appetite comes with eating and you can at least give it a try. If a spoonful of finger painting or macrophotography doesn’t do it for you, set it down and try something else.
If you need inspo, here are my favorite low energy activities:
- Spending time with my bestie. Nothing like one-on-one chill evenings with someone who gets it
- Doing puzzles (I’ve been eyeing these gorgeous wooden puzzles for a while)
- Reading (read comfortably while laying down with these 90 degree angle glasses, which can go over reading glasses too!)
- Snuggling with Blue and listening to a true crime podcast or a show
- Making snow cream! If you need a recipe, Ohio’s own Alexis Nicole has your back: Snow ice cream recipe
which brings me to…
Not literally, of course. Books and tv shows are a fantastic break for your brain. Indulge in them whenever you need it. They get our imagination going, make us forget about our own troubles and can even create a world we can safely hide in until we’re ready to face our own.
Most books I read are thrillers and crime fiction. Most people use fiction books for escapism, but there’s a lot of hilarious or relatable books hellbent on making you feel understood. Here are some from my reading lists:
“Verity is impossible to put down from start to finish. Hoover ensures that no character is trustworthy in this story as they all have their interests at heart. In the end, the reader will question if there were any heroes to root for at all.”
“The ever-popular crime novelist is back with another pulse-pounding standalone, this one considering the twisted relationship between a mother and a daughter after the latter realizes she may not know the woman who gave birth to her at all.”
“This breeze-right-through-it mystery follows baker Lila Macapagal as she investigates the murder of her ex-boyfriend, the town’s too-mean food critic, after he dies over a meal in her aunt’s flailing Filipino restaurant. Finding out whether or not Lila can solve the crime and save the restaurant is as satisfying as it is climactic with just the right amount of drama.”
“A swank celebrity wedding on a remote island with spotty cell service? What could go wrong? Lap up the luxe details, then hold your breath for dark twists as a guest turns up dead.”
“This dazzling, twisty, mesmerizing novel showcases acclaimed author Janelle Brown at her best, as two brilliant, damaged women try to survive the greatest game of deceit and destruction they will ever play.”
“He attends a language class in Paris that feels like an international Pepsi ad, and ponders gender assignation of French nouns, resulting in multiple purchases to avoid the gamble.”
“In a culture that encourages people to carry mental illness as a secret burden…Brosh’s bracing honesty is a gift”. ”I would gladly pay to sit in a room full of people reading this book, merely to share the laughter.”
A study reported in the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science has found that re-watching favorite shows can give people a mental boost when they want to be social, but don’t have the energy for social settings. Scientifically speaking, TV besties count too!
4. Get treatment
Of course, check with your doctor and never take vitamins without a vitamin panel blood test. Vitamins and minerals are crucial to your overall health. Deficiencies can make us feel tired, weak, sleepy or even give us muscle aches. Severe deficiencies can give bone pain or even make them prone to fractures! So get tested and give your body all the nutrients it needs.
Another great reason to keep your immune system as strong as possible is: some people around you can’t. Those struggling with chronic illness are at greater risk of harm in the colder months. If you’re sharing space with people whose medical history you don’t know, keeping yourself healthy is a kindness to them as well.
5. Give yourself grace
Some days there’s no getting out of bed. And that’s okay. If you wouldn’t ask that out of someone with a leg injury, it’s not fair to treat a mental affection any lightly.
Surround yourself with love and give yourself grace when your mind and body have less energy than you’re hoping for. There is always tomorrow and as Dori says, “Just keep swimming.”