SAD dark days mood

Those Winter Feelings

Darker days.

I woke up this morning and realized we still have a month and a half of getting-darker before we begin getting-lighter. Really, after that, is it any wonder I rolled over and went back to fitful sleep for another hour? True, tonight we fall back an hour, so it will get brighter a little earlier, but it will also be falling dark around 4 pm, which doesn’t really lend itself to afternoon productivity, and I have so much pity for the folks who head to work in murky barely-morning and drive home in the dark!

Yes, I’m definitely a candidate for Seasonal Affective Disorder, however much I try to keep busy and happy, add lime essential oils to my body lotion and drink lots of cheery Bengal Spice tea. Considering I vacillate between anxiety attacks, mild depression and “normality” throughout the year, it’s no big surprise the darkness – especially for one who could curl up in a sunbeam for hours – leaves me feeling a bit down in the dumps.

Its times like these that I really start thinking about the industry in which I work, and consider becoming a patient as well as an assistant purveyor. There’s a whole host of people who turn to marijuana for depression and anxiety. And yet, while I’m so happy there is this all-natural and relatively side-effect-free option out there, I’ve just never quite reached the point where I’m willing to medicate. And believe me, I consider this a sign of the relative mildness of my condition, not of my hardy constitution. Also maybe a bit of being raised in a home where medicine was a last resort, not a go-to.

Though, I suppose in a way the things I do to deal with my not-so-perky feelings are medicine in and of themselves. Certainly, yoga and meditation are considered essential parts of many ancient traditions, right up there with healing herbs and eating the right things at the right time (think Ayurveda). When I’m reminded how strongly I feel about using food and physical and mental exercise to heal (despite how bad I am at actually executing these practices), it further strengthens my resolve to dive wholeheartedly into a holistic health career. (That needs to be a whole blog post in itself, sometime soon.)

For all my proclivity to be alone with the dog, huddled up on my couch reading; despite my full-fledged and proudly acknowledged introvert identity, I find when I’m feeling a bit down in the dumps, heading out to somewhere populated actually helps. Not somewhere I have to actually converse with or be noticed by people – that right there is a recipe for anxiety – but somewhere I can sit alone and be imbued with the life, the eagerness bustling around me. Starbucks is a good spot, enhanced by caffeine and bright music I find I can focus, that the hum of humanity acts as a sort of white noise I can tune in to if I need to pull back from myself a bit.

I think we introverts have a tendency to lock ourselves away, whether it’s what we really need or not. Maybe we’re more affected by the assumptions about our character than we realize. We are (or at least I am) always primed to argue these assumptions: no, it doesn’t mean I can’t be around people, it doesn’t mean I don’t like to talk, it doesn’t mean I’m not friendly, it doesn’t mean I’m painfully shy. Perhaps despite our skill at correcting misinformation, we nevertheless are primed to believe when we’re not feeling chatty, the only recourse is our favourite reading chair and a good book. For hours.

feel better winter sadness depression

Sometimes, life dumps beauty on us. Other times, we have to hunt for that beauty.
Photo: Unsplash

Certainly, this method – one of my favourites – can work wonders and let us replenish the energies we expended at a party, or a dinner, or just a talkative coffee date, but what about when we’re feeling down and it isn’t due to any overactive interaction? I spent all of yesterday completely alone because I refused to go outside on the first day that really felt and smelled like winter – I’m hardly suffering from over-exertion! And at times like that, I think I – and I’m sure I’m not alone – must be reminded that there’s a big old world out there. Hence – Starbucks.

This post has been a whirlwind of thoughts and half-solutions. But that’s basically what my whole life is made up of, so it seems pretty apropos for a blog post about my internal workings.

What about you? Can you relate to the meh-ish-ness of this chilly season or do you flourish with the snow? What do you do to get better or stay well?

Blessed be, my friends!

Shannon

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