Beating Those Winter Blues
I'm writing to you on a snowy Sunday morning, all cozy snuggled up next to my puppy. In my last post (which you can read HERE) I mentioned that Winter in the Northwest of the US where I live can be pretty dreary, which leads me to not feeling my best. I do think I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a mood disorder characterized by depression at a particular time of year. You can read more about HERE. The lack of regular sunshine as well as the cold bums me out pretty hard. On top of that, the holiday season has been really hard on me the last few years. Going into the season, I decided to combat it head on and do my best to ward off feeling too blue. Here are a few ways I have been taking care of myself in order to keep my spirits up:
1. Morning Routine:
This one really encompasses a few tactics. The first being I am going to bed and getting up at the same time every day. I noticed my dog wakes me up usually by 630 and I normally get him into bed and go back to sleep. Then I think I end up oversleeping. Instead, I set my alarm for 6 and if Winston wakes me up earlier, I get up. And then I've been going to bed by 10 every night. My body is ready for sleep and ready to wake. I get 8 hours and it's been feeling really good. Then I go to my yoga room, plug in my light to do light therapy (I just got this one HERE), sit down on my yoga mat, and do some quick journaling. I write down the first thing that comes to my head. It's really fast, sort of just a flush out of how I am feeling first thing in the morning. Then I start a meditation video. I've been doing this super short one from Yoga With Adriene on YouTube. In addition I just started her 30 day yoga challenge from the beginning of the year called, True, because I want to do the new one coming out in 2019. I'd like yoga to be a daily routine. This whole morning routine lasts about 45 minutes or so. I've done it for over a week and it's really been setting my day off on the right track.
Nilly likes the yoga room, too.
2. Spending quality time with friends and family:
This past week I have been lucky enough to spend time with friends and family who are super supportive of choosing healthy activities. It's pretty standard for get-togethers to usually include food or alcohol, which is fun in the moment but has really been making me feel crummy. I've gained weight, I feel sluggish, my hands have been crazy swollen... it's just not fun. So instead a couple friends and I painted some ceramic the other night, which I hadn't done in awhile and it was fun! Then the next night some girlfriends and I made some yummy juice and watched A Muppet Christmas Carol, my favorite Christmas movie. It was so nice to do something healthy for ourselves, especially in the season of overindulgence.
Tyler's new coffee mug
3. Getting outside:
This one can be hard. When it is raining or snowing the LAST thing I want to do is go out in it. It's cold and dreary and wet and just, really not my favorite. Regardless, going outside, even for a little while, is really good for you. If there is a sliver of sunshine, it helps with getting vitamin D and helps with SAD symptoms. It's also good to get some exercise rather than staying inside curled up next to the fire (which is my instinct!). It also allows time to connect with nature, which is really therapeutic for me. Every season is a blessing and the cycle is so necessary for permaculture and the eco-system. The snow and the rain is also beautiful in its own right. It helps me to get through it by finding ways to appreciate it. And if it's raining or snowing, the inversion is being broken through and THAT is a beautiful thing!
4. Savor Traditions:
Even though the holidays can be hard for me, I do love the traditions that come with it. I enjoy decorating the house and the Christmas tree. It brings me a lot of happiness to see all of the ornaments that I have collected over the years. I enjoy seeing the decorations my mom made me and hearing jingle bells when my front door opens. I think continuing to build the traditions (say, go ice skating with my niece?) will help a lot too.
5. Take care of your body:
I decided to treat the 4 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas as an opportunity to regain my health. As mentioned, my arthritis has been acting up, and I've gained weight, felt super sluggish, and honestly, not motivated to do much of anything but self-medicate with alcohol and all.the.gluten!!! My body was over it! Over a year ago I was told about the Medical Medium by my acupuncturist. I am not super "woo woo" but I am most definitely open to it. I decided to read it because he speaks a lot about ways to heal autoimmune disease. At the time I tried a few of his strategies but I wasn't ready to do the cleanse yet. A few weeks ago I was debating on going on medication for my depression but really didn't want to if I didn't need to. I'm just not a fan of pharmaceuticals, especially when the world offers so many natural ways to treat ailments. So I re-read Medical Medium by Anthony William (more info HERE) and new things stood out to me and the timing to do the full healing cleanse seemed right. So I began on November 24th and will do the cleanse completely for 28 days. It is predominantly a raw plant based diet. There are certain foods to avoid and certain foods to be sure to eat each day. I really thought I would detox more or have lower energy but that has not been the case. I have been feeling super great! And so far I am not bored of the food (but I do have 3 weeks to go!). On Christmas Eve, I'll gradually start to transition. This means eating some cooked veggies, maybe some potatoes. I don't want to go nuts (but I may eat some! Or some seeds) and I really don't want to go back into my old habits. I want to take my time.
In addition, our Fire Cider is ready! We put this together at the beginning of October and I mixed honey with it today to begin to start drinking from it daily. We used this recipe. This is a natural, homeopathic concoction to sustain wellness and prevent illness. The cider has many items from our garden, except the orange, turmeric, ginger, and apple cider vinegar. The garlic, onions, hot peppers, and horseradish are from the garden and then we added some local honey. Hopefully this wards off nasty bacteria and viruses this winter season!
Do you struggle with SAD? What do you do to help beat those winter blues?