Got a case of the winter blahs? It’s understandable. After all, those of us with 9-5 jobs get up in the dark, work all day, and when it’s time to go home – oh look, it’s dark again. Depending on where you live, it may also be wickedly cold. In winter, people tend to eat more, exercise less, and get far less sunlight than in other seasons, a combination that can lead to what is variously called the winter blues, the winter blahs, seasonal depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Before I go further, I should say that depression can be life-threatening. If your moods are consistently depressed to the point where it affects your ability to function in daily life, please please PLEASE get help.
If you’re still reading this, I will assume that you’re not viciously depressed. But maybe lately you’ve found yourself sleeping a lot, easily bored, listless, restless, or constantly drifting off into daydreams featuring cold drinks, glassy waves and tropical sun.
Here are some easy ways to blues-proof your life.
-Plant something. Greenery brings light and warmth to even the dimmest space. The plant often called “lucky bamboo”, which is not actually bamboo at all, grows fast and is ultra-simple to care for – it doesn’t need sun or even dirt. Or you could get an AeroGarden. I got one for Christmas and I loooooove it.
-Make a cheery routine. When you get home from work, resist the urge to doze off on the couch in front of The Biggest Loser. Instead, pop in some light music (try Bebel Gilberto’s album Tanto Tempo for a Brazilian flavor), burn some incense, and do some yoga or art or Wii – whatever makes you feel good and energized.
-Eat your vegetables and take your vitamins. I know, I know, lamest advice ever. But eating healthily and getting all the minerals your body needs will help you feel good.
-Get a full-spectrum or vitamin-D lamp.
-Go outside. Even if it’s dark. It’s good to get fresh air and exercise. Depending on who you are and where you live, you may want to find a night-walking buddy or two, or borrow your neighbor’s sweet but scary-looking German Shepherd.
-Go away. Weekend in Vegas? How about Miami or Puerto Rico? Nothing like a few days in the sunshine, even if it isn’t bikini weather, to lift your spirits.
-Hold a midwinter luau. Crank the thermostat and the reggae, hand out leis, mix margaritas, and give prizes for the most obnoxious Hawaiian shirt. Don’t forget to invite me.