The promise of spring is just around the corner, but this can still be a hard time of year for all of us, especially if you experience seasonal depression.
The resolutions have been made and forgotten and the healthy lifestyle started and perhaps abandoned. We may have embarked on new goals, but that first excitement of the New Year, so full of possibilities, fades fast. If you struggle with seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder, these last weeks of winter can be the hardest. The excitement of the holidays is over and may well have left you broke and broken. Though the days are getting longer, spring still seems a long way away with the promise of bright sunny days and adventures still in the hazy distance. But take heart, there are ways to find some cheer through these last drab days of winter.
Perhaps it is built into our DNA to dread the winter months, the bare months when food and warmth are hard to find. Energy is low and enthusiasm lower, but we should not, surely, spend half the year longing for it to be the other half. Perhaps it is because we fight against the shorter, slower days. We want to be always racing headlong through endless summer days. I’m not making light of seasonal depression, and if you are suffering then I would highly recommend you get all the medical and emotional help you need. But this post may, perhaps, help you see winter in a different light – and I hope, lift your spirits just a little. I have found that accepting the lessons that winter has to teach me can allow me to enjoy it a little more.
Rest is a dirty word these days. ‘Busy, busy, busy’ seems to be everyone’s motto for life. Yet, somehow, the sound of the word ‘rest’ feels like home. Most of nature slows down in winter, in order to recuperate and store up energy for the busy months ahead. It could do us a lot of good to slow down a little, too.
We can take time to celebrate all that winter does bring, from cosy jumpers, sheepskin slippers and log fires to Sunday lie-ins and rainy afternoons when the best adventures are to be found between the covers of a book or through the flickering lights of the screen.
Let us appreciate the good things we have in winter and the people we get to spend time cosying up with. Make the most of the time when early nights don’t seem like a waste of precious daylight and we don’t even have to get up early to see the sunrise or hear the dawn chorus.
We can bring some warmth and cheer into our homes for these, the last dogged days of winter. We can enjoy the fruits of winter from parsnips to leeks, and the charms of winter, from log fires to afternoon naps and this may ease the winter blues a little.
Ring the changes
At this time of year, trips out are quick and for essentials, but we are tired of being cooped up inside. Whenever the sun does peek through the clouds then getting out and about will surely make us feel better. Getting enough daylight is a key factor in overcoming seasonal depression. Even sitting by a window and looking out into nature lifts the spirits a little.
While it is still the season for roasts and stews, pies and crumbles and we are not yet sick of heavy food, it does feel like time to ring the changes. Shopping for, and cooking something a little different can ease the boredom and get the creative, as well as digestive juices, flowing.
Indulge in a taste of summer
Indulging in a taste of summer from the other side of the globe can also ease seasonal depression. Treat yourself to tropical fruits: mango, papaya or pineapple. Indulge yourself with a bright bunch of spring flowers grown in warmer climes. Sip champagne, red wine or orange juice, grown on sunny southern slopes. Spritz on some perfume that conjures up the bliss of a long summer evening.
We have the best of both worlds and it does us good to occasionally indulge in oranges from Spain or tulips from Amsterdam or in scented candles, bath oils and perfumes from more exotic climes.
While the last weeks of winter can be the hardest, there is at least light at the end of the tunnel. Instead of bemoaning the seemingly endless dreary days, we can shift our perspective and try to make the most of what winter has to offer.
Make a little celebration of each day we have, in comfort, with people we love, and let us do our best to spread a little cheer and warmth through these last bleak, bare days of winter.