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Most people I know love summer time. It’s warm, you can spend hours upon hours outside, and wear shorts and flip-flops.
When it gets colder, however, it takes much more effort to put on those layers of clothes plus a different attitude to get out in it.
The decreased sunlight affects many of us too. People often find themselves with less energy, feeling more down, or with decreased motivation.
Some people even suffer from a form of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Some symptoms for SAD include:
Depression, hopelessness, anxiety, loss of energy, a heavy “leaden” feeling in the arms or legs, social withdrawal, oversleeping, loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed, appetite changes, weight gain, and difficulty concentrating.
Two websites with information about SAD include the Mayo Clinic and Mental Health America.
**Any information I provide here should not take the place of sound medical advice from a doctor. If any symptoms you are experiencing do not lessen or get worse, I recommend contacting your physician for guidance.**
Of course we may all experience some level of these symptoms at any time of the year, but you know yourself best. And you know if something is excessive or way off kilter for your normal way of feeling.
Here are a few tips to help you thrive during these darker days of winter.
Light, light, and more light. One way to combat the decreased light is to actually add more light to your life. This could be done any number of ways. Maybe you have a fireplace in your home. Add some light and a heat source. You can always bring in candlelight to any room of your home. Just make sure to blow it out when you leave. Why not try energy-saving fluorescent lighting. You’ll not only help the environment; you’ll be adding some really bright light to the room.
Then there’s the happy light kind of light. This can help tremendously, but use it as directed. A friend of mine found out that if she used it all day long in her office she was awake for hours in the middle of the night. If she was unhappy before, she was definitely not happy until she used it correctly.
If you can get outside at all, natural light from the sun, even on cloudy days, can provide a much-needed boost.
Vitamin D may also reduce the production of cytokines, which are proteins that increase inflammation and have been shown to be a possible risk factor for depression. Ask your doctor to have your level checked. If it’s not where it needs to be, getting it at the right level could make all the difference for your world.
I can’t speak highly enough about getting outside in nature to perk up your pansies. Even when it’s cold. There’s something about reconnecting with fresh air, the trees, and the snow if you have it. Just taking a walk allows your mind to chatter, worry, and work on its to-do list. But then something amazing happens. It stops talking and quiets down. Very often, a peaceful feeling will come up, possibly an insight about a problem you were working on, or a creative burst or idea about a project. Nature is miraculous. When you connect with it, you connect with yourself.
There’s also the whole thing about wrapping your mind around decreased daylight. When you argue with reality, you lose, but only 100% of the time. What we think about the darkness matters. If you think it stinks, it will feel stinky. Period. Your thoughts create your feelings. What thoughts can you think that will bring you a better feeling? Now go think them.
Why not spend 2 minutes visualizing yourself in Hawaii, Mexico, or some warm and sunny vacation destination. Literally see the green landscape with all those trees and flowers, smell the ocean, feel the warm, perfect temperature sun on your skin, taste the yummy different foods you would eat, and hear the birds singing. Take those sensations with you into your day. You can always stop and take a few moments to vacation in your mind.
Or literally take that mid-winter vacation to a warm sunny place if you can. It can break up winter and help you get through it knowing you got some relief from the cold or dark.
These are just a few ways to make it through your winter.
Want even more ideas for thriving this winter? Sign up for my free weekly newsletter at bloom-timecoaching.com and I’ll send you the entire How to Thrive during the Darker Days of Winter e-book too.
Your Turn: What one thing do you do to either thrive or just survive during the darker days? Leave a comment below, or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org
I am grateful to be able to spend some time with you virtually today. Thank you.
As always, take from here what works for you, share with your friends if you think they might benefit, and the rest you can leave behind.
Seeds of Kindness Bloom and Bloom and Bloom…