And so it begins ...
Dark time. The stretch from November through February is tricky terrain for me in terms of emotional stability. Ever-lurking is the seasonal tsunami of sadness awaiting the opportunity to sweep me out to a tear-filled sea. Okay, maybe not quite that dramatic, but each year I do wonder, in all seriousness, if it behooves me to get professional support for my SAD. Asking for help when needed is one of the kindest things that we can do for ourselves but, mind you, one the hardest things to do as well ... especially if you are an "I-can-do-it-myself" kinda girl, like me.
I bought this lightbox back in 2006 and it has made a huge difference in my winter well-being. I use it every morning from Autumn Equinox to Spring Equinox for at least 30 minutes. When the heaviness I feel can't be correlated to anything relevant or the blues come on so fast, so thick, that it nearly knocks me off of my feet and straight into bed, despite sunshine and blue skies, it's my queue to go to twice per day sessions.
I felt this shift on Monday without the slightest fair warning. I have scrambled to get my plan in place. The appropriate adjustments have been made to my vitamin regimen. I have to make a point of getting at least one walk outside every single day. With heavy emphasis on outside. But treadmill at time at the gym can still be worth its weight in mood-enhancement gold when the weather is inclement. I will soon stock my freezer with single portions of homemade soups and do my best to keep green smoothies in my daily plan. Genuine nourishment, in all forms, is so important right now. And it is imperative that I keep my carb consumption in check during this time, as it only feeds the problem. I'm looking right at you refined sugar ... with your pumpkin pies and your Christmas cookies!
I do my best to always have plans to look forward to during this time. Lunches with friends and artist dates really do keep my wheels on the wagon at this time of year, when I am prone to staying cooped up at home and circling the bed with longing for yet another hibernatory nap. This year I am making a priority of regular body work, so every other week through February, I will be receiving a one-hour massage or a one-hour reflexology treatment. It's definitely an investment, but this level of self-care is an immune system booster that may be priceless in the long run.
I know that this winter and how well I weather it has a lot (if not everything) to do with the stories that I tell myself about it, but I also understand that these feelings are very real. Self-soothing techniques and distractions can go a long way toward helping, as can offering myself the same care, kindness and compassion that I would to a loved one. But I share all of this to remind myself (and YOU) that there is abundant help and support available in a variety of forms and none of us ever has to go it alone.
And for this I am so grateful.