I don’t know about you all, but for me, the winter time blues are REAL. And they hit me hard Every. Single. Year.
It seems ironic that I set all these new goals at the beginning of the year, most of which have to do with my mental health and my personal relationship with myself, and I am at my lowest of low out of all the seasons of the year. The blues really seem to hit me around January. A couple of months after the temperature has dropped, and the clocks have changed. I sometimes go an entire day without seeing one ounce of sunlight, because it has already gone down by the time my shift is over, and it is far too cold to be outside on break. I miss my daily walks at lunch, where I can go outside and enjoy the sunshine hitting my face, burn a few calories, and take in the nature on the walking trails behind my place of work. I love my drive home after finishing a long shift. Iced green tea in the cup holder, windows down blowing warm air through my hair, and my favorite tunes blasting through the speakers. When I get home, I can sit outside in my lawn furniture, with my fur babies and Mike, while he grills some chicken and veggies. It’s just perfect.
In the winter I find it a little harder to show gratitude for all of the goodness I have in my life. Being confined mostly indoors, in fear of freezing off what little bit of butt I have when outside, is not my idea of a good time. I find myself wanting to spend my days laying in bed, and have no interest in socializing with friends and family. And above all, my thoughts are just really hard on myself. Like brutal. I actually can’t seem to find one thing I like about myself once I get into the nitty-gritty of winter. Depression is no joke. It doesn’t matter how grateful you are for your life and loved ones, it’s not something you’re able to just ignore.
In fear of sabotaging my 2018 goals right from the get-go, I need to do something to sooth my winter induced blues. I need to find the motivation to incorporate kindness into my day, both to myself and others. There are a couple of methods I have tried in the past that have helped, and a few new ones I plan to try this year. This is what I’ve got:
Supplements – This is SO important! Although I take tons of vitamins and supplements year round, I tend to up my IU’s of Vitamin D3 in the winter months (Talk to your Doctor, this is what I do to help after discussing it with my physician). Along with D3, I also take Vitamin B12. BOTH of these are huge mood boosters and are shown to increase serotonin levels (regulates happiness, mood, and anxiety!). If I get lazy and stop taking my vitamins, I FEEL a difference, and I believe these two vitamins are a huge reason why!
Eat Healthy – I don’t know if I’m alone on this one, but when it’s cold and snowy, all I want to do is eat pasta, soup, and baked potatoes. It’s all about the hot, comfort food. Unfortunately eating an over abundant amount of simple carbs is going to make you feel lethargic and run down. Try to continue with your normal diet, and adding in more whole grains, quinoa, and sweet potatoes. You’re still getting those carbs, but your body has to work to break them down.
Spend time outdoors – I know I mentioned how much I hate the cold, but some time spent out in the sun would be really beneficial. I’ve been thinking a lot about getting a pair of snow shoes for me and Mike. My parents love to go snowshoeing, with a thermos filled with coffee. You get to exercise (which releases happy endorphins) soak up sun, and take advantage of the beautiful scenery. I’ll warm up after a few minutes of trudging through the snow anyways, right?
Start my day with AMAZING music – Music, to me, is everything. I find it very therapeutic, and there are different kinds for every one of my moods (and there are A LOT of moods, people). I find that listening to really upbeat, positive, lyrics on my way to work can set my whole mood for the day. Today just so happened to be the Moana sound track… go ahead, judge me! My absolute favorites are Nahko and Medicine for the People , Michael Franti , and good ol’ Bob Marley. There is something just so uplifting and joyful about their music.
Light Therapy – Although I haven’t tried this yet, so many people swear by it. I plan to purchase both a sun lamp, and a dawn simulating alarm clock. The sun lamp actually emits the same compositions as the sun. It can help you get those feel good vitamins by just sitting next to it 30 minutes a day. A dawn simulating alarm clock actually gradually lights up your room much like the rising sun does. I have a MUCH harder time getting out of the bed in the morning when it is still pitch black outside. I am anxious to see how this helps me and my Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Once I use these for some time, I will update and let you know how I feel about them! *** If anyone has tried them, let me know!***
Take Advantage of your Support System – Mike and my family are totally my rocks. They help me get through every hard time I have, by always being present, and showing unconditional love. Occasionally when I am experiencing stress or depression, Mike will be the reciprocate of the wrath of Bitch-Mode Heather, and it’s completely not fair. But he never gives up on me, and he never forgets to tell me I’m beautiful. And then I make it up to him by buying Bud Light and taking him to Buffalo Wild Wings. Because food (and beer) is the way to his heart… and an easy I’m Sorry.
Among these things, I plan to just try to practice positivity as much as I can. I have to remember I will make it through this winter season, like every season before, and that we are already well on our way to Spring! The sun is officially staying up until 4:17 at this point….progress? I was thinking about starting some self-enrichment classes as well.. crafts, yoga, basket weaving? The sky is the limit. Just remember, you are not alone in this!
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