Thursday, January 22, 2015

Surviving the Winter Blues

For as long as I could remember, I have always struggled with depression during the long, cold winter months. The weather, being stuck indoors, the sun setting so early, and the emotional coming down off of Christmas altogether made me dread the January - March months. Of course, some years were better than others weather wise, but still, without fail, in some form or another, the winter blues would strike and I would be sad for days.
Even though there are still days that I am "crippled" by the overwhelming sense of sadness during the winter months, I am always seeking and finding out ways to bypass this feeling all together. I have gathered ways that help me during the this winter season, and I hope that they will help you out as well.
1. Find the sun // The sun is my best friend during the winter blues. The first thing I do during the winter is make sure that all of my curtains are open to allow as much as light into my home as possible. The other day Bug was playing with her toys and I spent five minutes laying on the floor and soaking in the sunshine rays - it was amazing at how much that lifted my spirits. 

2. Bake something // I think yummy smells are a very powerful tool in fighting off the blues. I love the way that fresh cookies make the home so cozy. Even a yummy smelling roast would do the trick. Or fresh coffee. Or even fresh air. 

3. Embrace the beauty // I always think that winter scenery is beautiful. I love hoar frost. I love how the snow sparkles in the sun. I love how leaves look frozen on the trees. The other day we went snowshoeing and I had the most amazing time. I got fresh air in the lungs, got out of my house, tried something new, and embraced the beauty of this season called winter. You know, the season that I tried to avoid. It was marvellous and I recommend going out and embracing the beauty. 
4. Work out // This is usually my go to even when it is not during the winter. Whenever I am in a funk, I try to "force" myself to to move, work up a sweat, dance, run - anything to get my hear beating fast. I always, always feel better once I work out. I can honestly say that there has NEVER been a time when I was in a funk, worked out, and remained in a funk. Working out clears my head.  

5. Get out of the house // Like I briefly mentioned in the "embrace beauty" category, getting out of the house is a great way to help during this time. I know it may seem like the last thing anyone wants to do - leave the coziness of the home to enter into winter weather, but it always cheers me up. And it doesn't have to be anywhere huge or exciting either, a coffee shop, book store, art supply store, a family member's house. Just change it up and get out of the regular routine. Stop being stuck. 

6. Create with others // This one I have had a hard time with in January. I am only now getting into being crafty. I don't know if it was the sadness of coming down from Christmas, but I felt as if my ideas and art ways needed to be put on hold. However, I was at a friends house yesterday, and she began showing me this beautiful quilt that she had been slowly working on for years. Her excitement transferred to me and all of a sudden ideas began to come to me and all I wanted to do was sit down and craft. I just needed a little reminder of how fun it is to create something new. Another way to get the creative bug is to travel to an art store or to a museum or read a book. Do something or go somewhere that you know will inspire you. My mom also suggested going on Pinterest to help find inspiration.
7. Organize/clean/declutter // This has been one of my goals for January. Between the fact that I think we have way too many things and taking part in the Happiness Project I have been decluttering like crazy. I started with my closet and with parts of our living room, and already I feel so happy. Getting rid of the old and the unused, giving it to someone else who could actually use it (thank you MCC) and throwing away things that take up so much space (thank you DVD binder) - I feel so light and clean and more organized.  

8. Do something you love // This can be anything. Read a book. Bake. Go for a walk. Watch a movie. Take a bath. Clean. Knit. Carving out time for "you time" is one of the most important things during the winter blues. Sometimes I need a friend to talk to, but other times (and maybe this comes mostly from being a mom), I need a moment to myself. I need to go off a shop by myself, I need to go off and write or read a book. Or do a puzzle. Regardless of what it is or who you do it with, do something that makes you happy. It is important. You are important.  

9. Turn off the technology // Sometimes it is so refreshing to turn off the tv or even lose my cellphone. Unplugging from the "demands of the world" helps me to remember that its not about everyone or how I can juggle so many things at once, but that I can just be in the moment, focused on my little girl, read to her, and just be still. I think this is so refreshing to just unplug. Remember the million other things that we can do without the use of technology.
10. Be healthy // Whether it is from changing up the diet, drinking more water, getting more fresh air, taking vitamins or working out, good health is so important to maintain during this season. My husband and I have both been noticing how cleaning up our diets have helped our moods and minimized how exhausted we feel at the end of the day. (more to come on that soon!) Ultimately, each persons body is different, but I do feel that if I listened to what my body actually needed and not what I think it wants, my mood would boost and I would not have to worry about the winter blues as much as I do. 
I really hope that you enjoyed these ten ways that I like to help fight winter blues. If there are any other ideas of ways to help fight depression during the winter months, I would love to hear about it. xoxo

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