There is quite a bit in the news each winter about SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and how to cope with it. I know that as a woman who often deals with bouts of depression that the dark, cold weeks of deep winter have been hard to bare at times. But I’ve been working on my mindset about winter the past few years and here are a few things that have helped me to not feel quite so bad.
Except if I hear the overused word Hygge one more time I might punch someone in the throat. Gha!
Winter Solstice – The solstice doesn’t come at the beginning or end of the season it happens right in the MIDDLE. That means that by the time Winter Solstice comes around the season is already have way over. You are already half way to spring, you can do it!
Weeks – A word I used in the beginning paragraph is used to describe the length of time the season lasts. It’s not years – just weeks. I can live with a few weeks of this. Right? Reminding myself that this lack of daylight won’t last forever somehow helps me to shift from complaining to acceptance.
Declutter – Why wait until spring? I mean, that’s the time to be outside planting or getting ready to plant. Not indoors cleaning out the junk drawers. I begin cleaning things out room by room and donating or re-purposing as much as I can so it doesn’t end up in the land fill. This means I have less clutter to look at all winter and it brings peace of mind. Make your home a sanctuary by creating tidy spaces. Focus on coziness – soft blankets, warm drinks, warm socks, and plush textures.
Recharge – It’s cold and dark and you don’t want to go out. So if you don’t have to… don’t. Stay home and snuggle under a blanket, read, watch old movies, crochet (my personal favorite) whatever it is that your soul needs during this dark time, do it. You are likely tired from the activity and chaos of the spring, summer and fall. THREE seasons of hustle are exhausting. Follow the example of some of your favorite animals and take a break. Recharging will give you the energy that you will need when the warm days of spring roll round.
Restore – If your system feels out of whack this is a great time to restore and reset. Did your diet go to hell once it got cold out? Do you find yourself gobbling carbs and sweets by the handful? Have you fallen out of your other good habits? It’s time to restore those things that give you balance and keep you healthy. Maintain a consistent sleep and wake cycle. Get back to meditation and yoga. Take a minute to stop and think about what your body and spirit need RIGHT NOW and do that.
Embrace – Embrace the season of darkness. The dark is where we can reflect, heal, learn and grow. Ponder the happenings of the year. What did you learn? How have you grown? What can you change and what do you need to let go of? This is especially helpful if it’s been a particularly tough year. It’s dark, and that’s OK. YOU’LL be OK.
How can you see the stars or the beauty of the moon if it doesn’t get dark?
Be Present – Your presence is a present. It sounds hokey but it’s true. Allow the holidays to be a chance to come together and help each other, rather than a cue to buy presents. Give the gift of your time and be present, and ask that others give the same. Physical objects cannot create happiness the way that feeling secure, relaxed and valued can. Together, we can support each other and create a twinkle of light in the darkness: the feeling of being loved.
Gratitude – And finally, be thankful. Even for the stuff that sucked. It taught you something and is helping you to become the person you want/need to be. Be thankful for the dark months and the chance to FINALLY snuggle in with a good book and a hot drink.
No one is even going to blink if you say, “It’s winter and I’m hibernating.” They will wonder why they didn’t think to do it too!