When you think of winter, do you think of things like fun-loving sled rides and hot chocolate? Or do you tend to think more along the lines of cold, dark and snowy. Many people battle seasonal depression and many more suffer without even knowing there is a name for it. If you tend to find yourself a bit cranky, lazy and unmotivated during the bleak winter months, you may benefit greatly from planning ahead this year.
First, before the holidays get too close, do a huge “Fall – Cleaning”. This will help you to really prepare your home to make the most of your personal space. Winter is the season for nestling in and embracing being warm and cozy. Your home should be a safe haven from the blistering winds and bitter temperatures. Seriously consider creating special nooks and crannies in your home for yourself – places to read, to watch a movie, or do a puzzle.
Second, you really should think about what makes you the most depressed during the winter months. Are you a social person who begins to feel isolated and cut off? Are you an outdoor person who feels trapped and stifled in the confines of the great indoors? Are you someone who feels tired and cranky when you don’t receive enough sunlight? Once you identify what effects you the most, you can take some preventative measures.
For instance, if you feel isolated during the winter, create a sort of club or group with your friends and family to meet once a week or twice a month, depending on everyone’s availability. Choose a theme such as a book club, a game night or a cocktail hour and take turns hosting your get-togethers. If you are very social, create several groups with different people and know that you will have social things to look forward to, well after the holiday activities.
If you really love the outdoors and feel trapped being inside, find ways to be outdoors more often; such as ice fishing, camping or even creating some type of a wind barrier on your property so that you can spend more time outside (perhaps with a fireplace). If those options are not viable for you, find ways to bring the outdoors inside. Plan ahead and create an indoor garden for yourself. Or simply bring plants into your home that make you feel good to look at and remind you of the greenery that lifts your spirit in the warmer months.
If you know that you are someone who needs more sunlight (or just light in general), especially if you happen to live somewhere that has poor lighting, such as a basement apartment, then you really need to fix this. You can go on-line and research special full- spectrum or similar lighting options that you can purchase to create a sunnier feel in your home. If this is a bit out of your price range, then just buy some light bulbs with higher wattages and bring more lamps into the rooms of your home where you spend the most time. Also, even if it is freezing outside, try to spend at least ten to fifteen minutes a day outside, especially when you first wake up, to absorb Vitamin D from the sun.
Third, try to imagine that the upcoming winter months are a vacation of sorts, in that you will have more down-time to fill in relaxing ways. Think of some things you always wanted to try. Some ideas might be scrap-booking, knitting, any type of a crafting project, refinishing an old piece of furniture, drawing or painting, just to name a few.
Decide on a project for yourself and then stock up on the supplies. If it is out of your price range, put them on your Christmas wish list. It should be something that you feel excited about so that you look forward to it. Even if it is a new video game that you might like to escape into, several great books that you would love to read, whatever feeds your personal soul.
Fourth, make sure you have an appropriate winter wardrobe. I do not mean fancy suits and such, I am talking great warm gloves, a snuggly coat that you feel just wraps around you like a blanket, great winter boots that make your feet feel safe and warm when they slush through the snow and sleet and a wonderful hat or ear muffs. If you take the time to really search for the items I have mentioned, you will thank me.
Lastly, if you can’t beat them, join them. If you feel like putting on your pajamas before you make dinner, then by all means, knock yourself out. But please make sure to break out the warm slippers, as well. If you are going to be spending a lot of time on your couch this winter, watching tv and movies, then make sure you find a great soft and warm blanket that is just for this purpose. Also, stock up on things you might need to have handy, such as a basket that you can carry your craft supplies in, or your books or even a few hidden treats, like something sweet and chocolaty. And when it really, really gets to you, just remember that “this too shall pass”.