When was the last time you felt truly alive? Probably not during your daily commute or 40 hours at your desk. Probably not while stationed in front of Netflix for another god-awful amount of hours. For me, it was while descending the stairs to Wreck Beach during a bright, but cold and windy day.
Winter Blues: depression during the late fall and early winter months, when less natural sunlight is available. Otherwise known as Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Depression is no joke. And winter can be hard for a lot of people. The electricity bills are up. The family get togethers are more often. In many places it’s cold as fuck and there’s not much daylight.
I remember moving into our condo a few years ago on December 1; we didn’t have all our furniture with us right away. There wasn’t any overhead lighting in the bedroom, and we didn’t have our lamp. So I was getting dressed in the dark at like 6am and heading to a new job, also in the dark. By quitting time, it was dark again. I didn’t really know what our place looked like for months!
Lots of experts and Dr.’s suggest things like vitamin D supplements, sitting in front of a light box, and dawn stimulators. I think the easiest (and cheapest) way to cope is to get the hell outside! Even if it’s just for a walk around the block.
Personally, I think stormy days rock. Some people worry or get upset when it’s windy outside or raining because their hair turns to shit or something. But I fucking love a good storm. Mother Nature can do some crazy ass shit, and its best practice for our soul to accept and respect every type of weather. There’s nothing you can do about it anyway; obviously, we should all try to leave as small of a footprint as possible.
People love to throw numbers and stats around. Fitness is 80% what you eat and 20% working out. By age 40, about 50% of the population will have or have had a mental illness. The government created food guides telling us how much grains we should eat each day, which is complete bullshit. Thanks Nina Teicholz, author of The Big Fat Surprise for clarifying! How about, instead of getting lost in the online details, we make getting outside or connecting with nature every day a priority?
Tim Ferriss and Walter Isaacson went over a lot of life lessons in the Lessons from Steve Jobs, Leonardo da Vinci, and Ben Franklin podcast. My favorite was to be curious. Be observant. Why is the sky blue? Listen to the birds. Marvel at the most ordinary things in life. As I’m writing this, the room keeps getting brighter and darker every few seconds as clouds pass over the sun, as if someone is moving a dimmer switch up and down. It’s amazing and energizing and totally natural.
Gonna dance, gonna fly,
I’ll take a chance riding high,
Before my number’s up,
I’m gonna fill my cup,
I’m gonna live, live, live, until I die!
~ Frank Sinatra
Be the sunshine. Apparently, “If you light a lamp for someone else, it will also brighten your own path” is a fake buddha quote. What the buddha did say was, “Looking after oneself, one looks after others. Looking after others, one looks after oneself.” I like the idea behind both quotes. There are so many ways to brighten up your own day and those you encounter. It doesn’t have to be extreme with rainbows and unicorns; a simple smile will often suffice.
More ways to beat the blues:
- If you abode in a place that’s -40 during the winter, you can’t really spend much time outside. Instead bring the outside in with real plants and beautiful colored flowers in your home.
- Surround yourself with brightness. Open your window curtains wide to let in as much daylight as possible, get a hot pink throw pillow, and some bright art work to bring life and happiness to your home and office.
- Eat dark chocolate (hey its natural and makes us feel good).
- Hang out with your pet. Legit put down the damn phone and be in the moment with them. Pets rely on us for so much, and they give us so much love. Look how Chuck learnt to feel again after Dan gave him a dog to help him get through losing Blair. (Gossip Girl please come back). However, being a pet owner is a huge responsibility and not be entered lightly.
- Try a float tank to clear your mind and be open to new experiences.
- Minimize the amount of alcohol and carbs that are consumed. While they are delicious going in, they don’t do our bodies any favors.
- Read a book; escape with your imagination or learn something new.
So, there’s no excuse to wait for spring and the longer days it brings. Get your boots, a coat, some gloves, whatever and get outside and LIVE.