Winter Blues - Elisabeth Klein

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 Winter can really 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:

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.

Rituals. Each morning, I turn on a worship or Christian cd and I light a candle and start a fire in the fireplace. These are things I love. Doing things we love are gentle ways to nurture who we are.

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 super-perimenopausal), so I need all the help I can get to reset my internal clock.

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 put Baetea’s Happy tea on my Amazon wishlist and drink a few cups of that each day. (Baetea also comes in immunity, sleep, energy and a few others.)

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 almost fifteen years, I have had a smoothie for breakfast or lunch, with water or almond milk, banana, kale or spinach, blueberries and flax & chia seeds. I’ve added various supplements over the years but right now my faves are from YourSuper. (When you place an order, and use this code: SUPER-ELISABETH15, you will get 15% off your order.) By the way, upping that smoothie to two or three times a day has also kept me from getting sick in ages.

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 helped quite a bit 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 year or so, I have lined up with my husband’s bedtime and wake-up schedule and it’s made a difference.

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 I’ve been walking almost every day (yes, even when it’s like 9 degrees outside). However, what works best for me is a few minutes of dancing (and loud singing) with my earbuds in. Instant mood-booster, I promise.

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.

And if you could use someone to talk to, call me!