If you live in a region where there are four distinct seasons as I do, then you know what it feels like to look down the barrel of six months of grey, of cold, of rain, of snow, of blah. Some people are blessed with a love of all things Fall (daughter #1) and a countdown clock in their heads to Christmas (daughter #2). I am not one of those people. To me, Fall = death and the holidays = slight panic. (I know, I'm a walking party. But, man oh man, does my heart live for Spring and Summer!)
I already live with melancholia and I have struggled with several seasons of mild depression in my life, so the Fall and Winter can do me in if I’m not proactive.
Here are my absolute best tips to battle against the weather’s effects on my mood every year (in the order I implement them throughout my day):
Water. I begin my day with drinking two glasses of water. One plain (or with lemon squeezed into it when I have remembered to buy a lemon) and one with a shot of apple cider vinegar in it. We all know that water is supposed to do wonders for our bodies but beginning your day with it kickstarts your whole system.
Supplements. I take a few but Vitamin D has been my go-to for that little extra when the sun isn’t shining anymore. Check with your doctor because, you know, I’m not a doctor.
Light therapy. I use a light therapy lamp for thirty minutes each morning while I do some odds and ends on my computer. I struggle with sleeping through the night these days (as I'm pretty sure I'm perimenopausal), so I need all the help I can get.
Tea. I’ve been drinking two or three cups of white or green tea every morning for years. I’m a huge fan of Adagio loose teas but they also come in tea bags. However, when the weather turns, I ask for Baetea’s Happy tea for my birthday and drink a few cups of that each day. (Baetea also comes in immunity, sleep, energy and a few others.)
Exercise. Okay, so, I don’t really exercise. That’s not true. I exercise-light. I do a few minutes of stretches in the mornings and when it’s nice out, I go for a walk or bike ride. So, during the fall/winter blah months, we have an elliptical that I’m telling myself I.WILL.USE. However, what works best for me is a few minutes of dancing (and loud signing) with my earbuds in. Instant mood-booster, I promise.
Time with God. I spend time with God every morning. I journal whatever is on my mind and I read a devotional and some Scripture. But especially when facing the blues, upping my gratitude always shifts my perspective. So every day I list off several things that I am truly grateful for in my life. Also, outright asking God for the joy of the Lord to replace your sadness is a great practice to get into.
Eat better. Every day now, for about ten years, I have had a smoothie for breakfast or lunch, with orange juice or soy milk, banana, kale or spinach, blueberries and wheat germ. I’ve added various supplements over the years but right now my faves are matcha, protein powder and a greens superfood powder. Is it amazingly good for you? Yes. Does this sound disgusting? Yes. Does it taste disgusting? NO. (The juice and berries overtake the other flavors, no lie.) I also really try not to eat much junk food, instead snacking on almonds or dark chocolate covered berries.
Rest. If my body needs a nap, I now take one, no guilt. I read that 26 minutes is the ideal, and no joke, ever since I heard that, when I lay down, I don’t even need an alarm…I’m up in 26 minutes or less. However, you don’t want to nap too long or too late in the day as it might interfere with your nighttime rest. And a tip that has worked wonders for me for sleeping through the night and waking up rested – a tip we’ve all heard – is a consistent bedtime and wake time. I was all over the place with both of these, but the past six months, I have lined up with my husband’s bedtime and wake-up schedule and it’s helped tremendously.
Stay connected. Though I try to see one person I love socially each week, the weather can make us turn inward a bit, or at least can deter us from getting ourselves out in the world. So I’m sure I text my husband and friends and kids more during the indoor months, which is a great way to keep connected.
It’s normal. Finally, realize that feeling blah and being blah isn’t the end of the world, that they’re just feelings. Show yourself grace and gentleness. Remind yourself that Spring will come again and this season will pass. And if it doesn’t or if you think it’s more than just the winter blues, consult your doctor for a check-up and make an appointment to talk with a counselor.