Ok real talk here (because when is it not?)…
How are you handling the Winter Blahs?
Let’s be clear in that the dip in mood or motivation that we often feel this time of year share some of the same characteristics as Seasonal Affective Disorder:
Lack of interest in normal activities
YOU ARE NORMAL.
But if you’re trending toward more pronounced feelings of hopelessness, suicidal thoughts and decreased socialization, there may be a bigger issue and seeking professional support should be your next move.
But let’s assume you’re like me and just sort of fumbling your way through January, reaching for some sort of routine that feels good again after a cozy little holiday.
Here’s a checklist I use to help me find my stride:
SUN - whether it is filtered through the clouds, straight beams or a version of light therapy, starting your day with light on your face will kickstart your circadian rhythm and mood.
SWEAT - steam, sauna or a quick HIIT session; I’ve found that as little as 15 minutes of intense movement triggers sweat for me, followed by a better mood instantly.
STIMULATION - gentle shifts in your mind can help you move with self-compassion to the next part of your day. Indulge in an activity that feels good to you and gets your mind moving - laughing, dancing, coloring, cooking, reading - the point is it should be more than just zoning out in front of Netflix, but nothing that feels dreadful to you.
What NOT to do?
Don’t be swayed by the ‘I’ll start Monday’ mentality.
If I always waited to start a new habit or self-improvement effort on a specific "date"—the first of the year, the first of the month, the next Monday—I’m always waiting. Which also can trigger more feelings of defeat. Instead, let something be better than nothing and focus on that.
OH, this and changing your hair. DO NOT RECOMMEND going darker and shorter in tandem with any difficult road. For some reason I thought that was a good idea in 2021.
Routines and habits generally help us thrive. But it’s not always easy to FIND your stride in these dark days. So pick one of my ‘Three Ss’ and just try it. Which one appeals most to you?