It's settled in, the winter brain freeze. Where I sleep odd hours, fit in household chores, work, writing, bills, classes, meditating etc when I feel like it. Does everything get done? UM NOPE! Do I feel a bit bad that winter get's the best of me? Sometimes. Should I? Probably not. We all have our favorite times of the year, where we are more on top of our game than at other times of the year. My sweet other half, loves, loves, loves WINTER! Despises summer. So we are off our game half of the year, and lucky for us, we both thoroughly enjoy Spring and Autumn. It is what it is.
As I try to clear my brain enough to write this blog, that I had absolutely no idea all week what I was going to write about. It occurred to me to just write about what Winter does to me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. And how I fight back with sarcasm, humor, a boat load of coffee, sometimes too much sleep, and sometimes I just wander around like a human zombie.
Not everyone gets S.A.D. (I mean understands it). It stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder. When those of us who are fortunate enough to live in the lovely North East don't get enough sunlight (Vit. D), as well as enough exercise and outdoor activities because well honestly I don't care how many layers I put on....-22 just isn't comfortable to be in! Yes, that's what I woke up to yesterday morning! I went outside like I do every morning, and thought my nostrils were going to freeze shut! How is that pleasant? Kind of a bit gross, but that's a fitting image of most mornings in Maine lately.
Last week in the middle of an ice-storm, my windshield washer fluid wouldn't work, so after checking to make sure the holes weren't clogged, by sticking my earring backing into the hole to clear any small debris of ice, it still wasn't working. It took me pulling over 5 times, and throwing snowballs on my windshield to get to work, and again to find my way home. So picture this tiny 5 foot gal throwing curve balls at the window and swearing my head off as each one hits and clears away the salt so I can once again, get back on the road to my destination. Lovely picture!
The next day resulted in having to take my headlight out to find the source of my headache. The whole things was frozen solid. 6 hours of pouring hot water down inside where you put your fluid, letting it sit, siphoning it out, repeat, repeat, repeat. Finally a working windshield I could actually see from! Whoohoo! Really, pulling that lever on the steering wheel is so much easier than the snowball technique.
So now lets fast forward a few days. How about a can of WD40 and a hot air gun? Really, it's quite the combo! My doors froze open!! You heard me right. I had to bungee cord my door shut, because the latch on two doors froze. Several hours of spraying WD40, hot air blowing all the moisture out, and a screw driver, I was back in business.
Then on Sunday we got a little snowstorm. Well, it was suppose to be little. I really want to be a weather woman. You make good money, and only have to be slightly accurate. Sounds perfect to me. None the less, it took me an hour and a half to get home from work. And I got stuck at the end of my driveway! Boooo! My nerves were completely shot from the drive, I make it all the way without ending up in the ditch, only to get stuck anyways. Thanks to my incredible other half's driving skills, and some dirt and shoveling, he was able to get my car out of the road and safely into the driveway. Where I plunked my butt down on the couch and didn't move for the rest of the evening.
Next day.... 7 hours of clean out! 14" of snow, roof raking, snow-blowing, clearing paths for the mail man, fuel service and access to our wood that we need to continue building our house, ended with me collapsing in bed by 9pm. Wiped, wiped, wiped!
All the while, for me personally I struggle to keep on top of S.A.D. I have a light I use in the morning, to give me extra D. I take vitamins. Try and eat healthy and stay as active as I can without freezing to death. Every day isn't the same. Some days I am pretty successful at being productive and staying on a sane schedule, and other days I am literally falling asleep standing up.
I do have some tools that I use to keep me not sinking too far into the black hole of winter and wanted to share them as to maybe help others keep their heads above water during the dark winter months.
1) Consistency is for me a big part of fighting the winter blues. I try my darnedest to not take naps, keep my bedtime roughly the same every evening, as well as the time I wake up.
2) I use my light in the morning, while I am doing my meditation or writing in my journal.
3) Even if it's for only 15 minutes a day, I go outside! Yes, there are some days when I walk out the door and have to give myself a little pep talk...But I GO!
4) I take extra Vitamin D, magnesium and a liquid B-complex. Honestly some days my attitude can get pretty emotional, the littlest thing could have me in tears, the B-complex keeps me level, and calm.
5) I love coffee, especially on bitter cold days. So I have to remind myself with little sticky notes to drink other fluids. Juice, water, tea etc. Just something besides HOT coffee.
6) I journal write every morning and often in the evening. The evening journal entry usually consists of my daily gratitude and thank god list, as well as things I am happy with myself for getting done. I think giving yourself praise is a fabulous way to boost your overall internal happiness!
7) Allowing myself to have a crappy day, where everything goes wrong and it's ok! Every moment isn't going to be wonderful and so for those days where things just seem off, I am energy less, and feeling very low...I sit with it. I accept that every day isn't going to be roses. The one thing I don't do, is beat myself up for not getting it all done. Some days physically the S.A.D. just sucks the life out of me and I give myself permission to go to bed early. Have a day to just read. Be alone. Meditate longer. Be totally creative, with whatever I choose if that's what it takes for me to not sink. Some days are totally about me doing whatever I need to do to keep going! Really simple!
8) I give myself stuff to look forward too. Right now I am planning my garden. I order seed catalogs, flower catalogs, landscaping magazines, horticulture ideas and anything I can get my hands on to offer me inspiration and hope that Spring will be here before I know it. I start my garden plotting now, so that when the time comes I am ready to go!
9) I grow everything and anything in doors during the winter, just to try it. I love dirt so that probably has something to do with it. But I get super excited when I see little green pieces coming up out of the soil. Herbs can be grown year round in your window sill. And there are many types of indoor plants that are easy to grow, require little tending too and bring nature indoors which has been proven to have a calming effect on your surroundings.
10) The biggest and most profound thing that I have found that keeps me moving forward, getting up, fighting back and not letting winter kick my ass....
Having a dream bigger than ME! When you have something that you are working on, that consumes you in a positive uplifting manner, it's much easier to get out of bed every morning. Not every thing in my life is going to be perfect. But I can certainly say without a doubt, that my coaching classes, clients, creative projects, working on e-books, etc. gives me the push and continuous drive to keep the momentum moving.
If your struggling with the winter blues, find something your so passionate about that you literally can't wait to get up, no matter what the weather is doing outside. It's a sure fire way to light that internal flame and keep you going through those cold winter months!
I am sure before winter is over, that I will have a few off days where I do more sleep than write or be creative, but the one thing I can be sure of...I will get up the next day with even more of a drive to keep creating, putting out there what makes my heart sing and helping others to fight back and find their way because that's what I enjoy, helping others through the rough spots.
Hope everyone's New Year is off to a fabulous start!