Friday, February 28, 2014

Keep Your Head Up.

I am no expert in anything.  As you all know, that doesn't prevent me from having an opinion on everything.  It's one of the curses of being a firstborn. 

I've noticed, mostly on facebook, but also in talking to people in real life, winter has been hard on all of us.   I am certainly no exception.  I took a personality/vocational assessment in high school, and the results suggested that I would be prone to depression.  Looking back over certain periods in my life, I think I have struggled, but that struggle has always intensified in the winter. 

I have discovered a few things that have helped me get through the dark days of winter.  If winter has been especially hard for you, I hope some of these suggestions are able to help. 

1.  My light box. I honestly don't know how I was able to get through winter before.  It has saved my emotional stability.  I am not being overly dramatic. 

2.  Eating healthy.  For whatever reason, studies have shown that people who struggle with seasonal depression crave starches.  This is especially problematic for me, because I happen to love starches.  I've found that the less starches I eat, the better I feel.  I still love crunchy things, so I munch on nuts.  Staples of my daily food include: grapefruits, roasted almonds, fage yogurt (whole milk only), and dark coffee with a splash of light cream.  I then usually eat salads or leftovers for lunch and a full dinner.  In perusing pinterest, some of the desserts that are being pinned just make me a little nauseous.  I actually saw a "fruity pebbles" cupcake.  I don't know about you, but I just can't eat like that anymore.

I cannot get enough grapefruit!

 3.  Sunlight.  While our winter has been brutal in terms of temperature and precipitation, it seems to have been rather sunny.  If the sun is shining, I bundle up and head outside to walk for at least 30 minutes.  It helps.  Trust me. 

our street - the sunrises have been magnificent

4.  Vitamin D supplements.  I take 5,000 mg per day.  Yes, I'm a self-diagnoser, why do you ask?  You can go to your doctor and have your levels tested.  I don't need to be tested, I know I'm deficient!

5.  An orderly house.  I should preface this by saying that I feel best when I'm surrounded by order.  My mind will not function properly if I am surrounded by chaos and clutter.  You might not even notice your surroundings, and that's great!  In late January, I de-cluttered and re-organized everything (except Rob's garage and the attic).  I pared down and tidied up.  It helps me focus and keeps my mood bright. 

6.  Something to look forward to.  Rob and I try to get away every year for a week by ourselves.  He realizes that this is something that is a priority for our relationship and also for my mental health.  We don't spend a lot of money or go anywhere lavish, but we try to get away to warmth and sunshine.  This year we were able to spend a week away - three of those days we were able to spend together and in warmth and sunshine.  Heaven. 

in Boca Grande, Florida

It will be spring eventually.  Keep your head up!