Lately I’ve been more irritable than usual, dissatisfied with life in general, feeling like I’m just plodding through the days. The dark, the cold, ugh! I know it’s my yearly bout with Seasonal Affective Disorder. I know it’s temporary, but it doesn’t make it any easier. I have good days and bad. It’s not so severe that I can’t power through on my own so here’s how I weather the winter. Maybe some of these will help you too. Note: If your case of S.A.D. is severe and/or debilitating, see your physician for more in-depth treatment.
1. Retail Therapy plus exercise – There’s nothing like a walk thru a shiny, well-lighted mall to lift the spirits. You don’t even have to spend money – walk through any department store to get a new scent for the day. Walk into Bath and Body Works and sample the new moisturizers – my new favorite, Butterfly Flower. Last Saturday they were passing out free samples of anti-bacterial hand gel plus a coupon for a free item with only a $10 purchase! Let that Israeli guy at the Sea Spa Skin Care kiosk give you a sample of their hand treatments. If you still have an unused gift card from the holidays, now is the time to use it. Buy at least one thing that’s in your budget that will lift your spirits, be it a book, jewelry or clothing.
2. Get outside – Every sunny day, even if they are few and far between, get out and soak up some sun. Even driving around in the car can make you feel better on a beautiful day if it’s too cold to be out for long. Sit by a window if possible.
3. Eat good foods – We ALL overdid it over the holidays. If you haven’t already, now is the time to cut back on the “bad” carbs. Even though the only thing you really crave is chocolate-iced cream-filled donuts now is the time to switch to “healthy” carbs such as whole wheat breads and pasta, brown rice and popcorn for those crunchy craving times. Up your fruit intake – I find a really good orange or clementine (plentiful and inexpensive this time of year) really hits the spot. Click over to SmittenKitchen.com for a great recipe for Citrus Salad with Feta and Mint. Experts also say to eat more fish to get your Vitamin D. I do not like fish so I make sure to take my multi-vitamin every day.
4. Start a new hobby or project – This year I am re-learning to crochet. I used to do it years ago and it wasn’t too hard to re-learn. Jo-Ann’s Fabrics, Michael’s, and Pat Catan’s craft stores all offer inexpensive craft classes this time of year. Your library may also be holding classes. I re-learned to crochet mainly from sites on the internet. I started a Cardigan Vest, an ambitious project for me. I’ll let you know later how it turns out.
5. Go to the library – It’s light and usually full of people. Most libraries now have movies, video games and CD’s of all kinds in addition to books and magazines for all ages and interests. Check out their bulletin board while you’re there – you may find a book discussion group to join or an author lecture you would like to hear. Check out a cookbook and try a new recipe.
6. Spend a day hiding under the covers – OK, all the previous ideas were about fighting off the effects of S.A.D. but I say some days the best thing is to embrace it without shame. Spend a day in your jammies under your Snuggie, watch chick flicks, eat popcorn. And chocolate.
Most important, take care of yourself. If you’re on meds keep taking them, if you need meds see your doctor. How do you get through the dark days of winter? In the words of the great Red Green, “I’m pullin’ for you – we’re all in this together!”