Winter is coming. (No, I don’t read Game of Thrones, or watch the show, but I know my way around a pop culture reference.) It seems the minute the clocks turn and the days get shorter my patience, frustration tolerance, and overall mood begins to deteriorate. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, but every year I find myself struggling through the winter months. I am a person who craves sunlight and warmth. I also have Raynaud’s Syndrome, which means that I am often cold, or feel cold, and getting warm can be a difficult and painful process. So of course, the onset of winter doesn’t bring with it feelings of wonder and delight. Without fail, every year in February I am begging Honey to whisk me off to Florida to spend a few days with family and friends to escape the cold weather. (And every year it doesn’t happen. Dude…plane tickets are expensive.) This year I am trying my best to be proactive and focus on ways that I can beat these feelings and be less bothered by winter. I’m sharing them here is the hopes that they may be helpful to some of you as well.
Note: I am not a doctor nor do I play one on TV. Do not take these suggestions as actual medical advice. If you or a loved one may be experiencing symptoms of major depression please consult your doctor.
As we know, it’s a well established fact that I’m a runner. Last year I didn’t do a lot of running in the winter because I wasn’t training for anything so I kinda got a little lazy. This showed in those early races of the spring and is probably part of the reason why I ended up injured. This year, as much for my physical health as for my mental health I’m going to try to keep running through the winter. I’ll be outside for as long as I can, but we have a treadmill in the basement too that will let me run towards the storage shelves until the end of time. Not a runner? That’s okay. Find your favorite form of exercise and commit to it for the winter.
As the saying goes, “There’s no bad weather, only bad clothes”. I find that being outside any time of year improves my mood. I walk to pick up Lovey from school every day and that fresh air and sunshine does wonders. Lovey seems to think that this will stop once it gets cold, but I plan on just bundling up more. Running outside, or just taking family walks around the neighborhood will help too. Years ago (Pre-kids!) Honey and I did a lot of winter hiking. Maybe we can grab a sitter and hit the trails at some point this winter.
I’m not saying embrace your bad mood (although I do think acknowledging that winter can be difficult for you goes a long way). Embrace the time of year. There are so many fun things that can only be done when it’s cold. Sledding, ice skating, driving around to look at holiday lights, hot chocolate and peppermint mochas. Our family usually does a summer bucket list; there’s no reason why we can’t do a winter one too. And if you can’t bear the thought of bundling up one more time to head outside, make some fun inside. Pop some popcorn, light a fire, and snuggle up for a family jammie day with your favorite movies. We also love having grandma over for holiday cookie decorating.
If all else fails, do what we did last year. Plan a mid-winter getaway to Great Wolf Lodge!
Anyone have any other tips to not let winter get you down?