Surviving the Winter Blues

Winter is long. It’s longer than all the other seasons.

In the beginning of winter, I’m so excited about lightly falling snow and having a white Christmas that I’m almost welcoming the season. I’m excited to take out my winter jacket and boots. And I love the thought of bundling up in a big sweater with a cup of hot chocolate.

But after the holiday season ends, the days feel so long, dark and grey. I wake up and it’s dark, I come home and it’s dark, I go to bed and it’s dark… only to do the same thing the next day. I’m wearing so many layers, I start to forget what my legs look like… which at this point is a good thing. My one pair of boots have gotten so damp over the weeks that 2 minutes waiting at the bus stop causes my toes to freeze. And then comes February.

In Quebec, the first week of February is Suicide Prevention Week, because February has the highest suicide rate. The rest of Canada has implemented a statutory holiday, but Quebec isn’t so lucky to have Family Day.

The “winter blues” (seasonal affective disorder) is very real. So many people feel mild depression, unmotivated and low energy. Myself included.

I’ve done quite a bit of googling about the “winter blues” and the majority of the suggestions to help fight it cost money… go skiing or to the spa. Really?! Thanks for making me more depressed because I’m too broke to deal with my disorder!

But looking at my life for the past few weeks, there are a few things that I’ve been doing that definitely are not helping. And I’m confident that by doing the opposite, which is thankfully free, I will be able to have an easier couple of weeks.

  1. Stop Complaining!

I probably spend most of my day complaining. I wake up and complain about the weather. I get to work and complain about the weather. At lunch, I complain about work. I get home and complain about the weather and work. Only to go to bed to start the process all over again. But obviously the negativity is very quickly eating away at me. Complaining has become the only thing I can talk about. And now it’s becoming the only thing I can think about. So now I’m just a negative person. Being positive will allow life to be more bearable and me to be happier.

  1. Start the Day Off Right!

All winter, I wake up late for work and slowly roll out of bed. I don’t eat breakfast and the most energy I exert is a sprint for the bus. And that is the exact recipe for a bad day! The beginning of the day is the most important. I need to start waking up early, eating a healthy breakfast, taking a morning shower, and maybe even doing exercise. I probably won’t do exercise… but it sounds like a great way to start the day!

  1. Switch up the Routine!

Every evening, I come home at 6:45pm to sit in front of the TV. I sit on the sofa eating dinner, texting my friends, scrolling through my social media, and chatting with my husband. At 9:00pm, I start preparing for the next day by showering, complaining, and crawling into bed. But what if I sat at the breakfast bar and talked to my husband there? Or instead of watching TV, I read a book or played a game or made a puzzle. Changing my routine would help me to stop feeling like I keep living the same day over and over again.

  1. Set Goals to Work Toward!

My life always goes faster when I have a date that I’m looking forward to. The countdown leading up to a vacation always flies by. Unfortunately, I’m not going on vacation and I don’t have the money for a vacation right now. And the next holiday is Easter, but working at a church, Easter is a very stressful holiday. So finding a short-term, attainable goal will help pass the days. Right now, I have small financial goals that I’m working towards, but it’s just making me grumpy by tightening my budget. Time to find another motivating goal.

  1. Have Fun!

It’s so easy to forget to have fun. I get so focused on going through the motions that I forget to laugh hysterically and be ridiculous. I get so caught up in all the things I have to but don’t want to do that I stop enjoying life. I need to stop taking winter so seriously and just live my life to the fullest!

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