I’m not a fan of cold weather. And when I say cold weather, I mean anything below 70 degrees. I’m a Summer Girl. I love the heat, humidity and sunshine. I can’t get enough of those temps in the 90’s or higher and have always wondered why I was born on the wrong latitude. I should have been born smack-dab on the Equator.

So let’s look objectively at this cold weather displeasure. Depending on the time of the year, a 65 degree day can make me feel different. In The Winter of My Discontent, I’m grudgingly grateful (“I guess it could be 35 degrees and sleeting.”). In The Spring of My Longing, I’m deliriously hopeful (“It’s time to dig in the dirt; it’s getting closer to summer.”). In The Summer of Love, it makes me giggle (“Tee hee. Silly 65 degrees.”). In The Autumn of Loathing, I’m apprehensive when it’s 65 degrees (“You devious, deceitful weather!”) because as the days get shorter I’m acutely aware that fall is merely a prelude to winter.  

Here’s the root of all of this rambling:

I hate winter.

I get weary, weepy and woebegone in the winter. Because of the joy of Christmas and the excitement of a new year, I’m kind of okay through December.

But, come January 2nd, I slide downhill. It’s Seasonal Affective Disorder time.

Let’s see what the Mayo Clinic says about S.A.D. “Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.”

Yep, that about sums it up.

SAD – So Annoyingly Despicable

SAD – Siberian Aversion Disease

SAD – Somber And Decrepit

This year has been especially hard. Some deaths in the family and the stress of taking care of my aunt who’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s has left me feeling funky.

Yesterday I was at my lowest point. I was still in my pajamas at 11am, clicking all over the internet, wasting time and trying to ignore the fact that I needed to think about how lousy I was feeling. Now, I want to digress … I am not judgmental about sitting around in pajamas. Lots of people work this way from home. Some people love feeling cozy in their pjs all day. But, when it comes to me in my night clothes in late morning, it’s a big flashing neon sign that things are not “Okie Dokie” anymore. Seriously, as a morning person. I’m normally up and at ‘em at 7am!

As I was absently drifting around the world wide web, my sister-in-law, Denise, struck up a private message with me on Facebook. She asked how I was. I told her the truth. Not so great. I was feeling overwhelmed and even underwhelmed by pretty much everything.

Whenever I’m feeling down, D always mobilizes me with some sort of rallying call. Today it was “Ain’t No Devil in Hell Gonna Walk On The Jesus in Me!” the title to a song that has some warm and funny memories.  And that’s the spark I needed. I immediately knew It was time to assemble my dinner menus for the week, make a list and hit the grocery store – chores I’ve been avoiding for the past five days. But how?

Anyway, my darling Denise, being the creative person that she is, nudged me: “Why don’t you write about it”.

I think you can see what I did here. I followed her advice. Journaling is healing, so I wrote about my crappy morning. And it was a great way to “take a sad song and make it better”.

*I’m posting some of yesterday’s journal notes here as a Lighten Up blog for those of you, like me, who struggle and suffer through the Great SADness of Winter.

Here are 7 easy steps to get you moving and grooving again.

Taking one step at a time:

  1. I admitted I was gloomy.
  2. I showered … and put on some makeup. No need to scare little children.
  3. I pulled up my Pinterest boards and decided on 5 meals that would be the right combination of healthy and comforting. Because I needed to be comforted.
  4. I wrote out a grocery list of things we already needed (why am I always running out of Dijon mustard and how do we go through so many pears?) as well as any items I needed for the meals.
  5. I put my blinders on. I refused to look at anything around me that would make me dawdle or dilly-dally.
  6. I got myself out the door, turned up the radio, sang at the top of my voice (albeit off key), and drove right to Wegman’s.
  7. I practiced mindfulness. I had already been thinking about how crowded it would be at the store. Since it was predicted that we would get hit with anything from a coating to six inches of snow, I knew the “BEM” (bread, eggs, milk) crowd would be out in full force. But, I put a smile on my face as I drove. I kept my eyes on the road and let the beauty of the passing landscape, including the pair of lime green tennis shoes secured with twine to a tree trunk, wash over me.

Once in the store, I took deep, long breaths and everything was okay. My driving smile became my grocery store smile. I swear – smiling changes everything.

And, as I walked around the store, I saw my miserable morning for the molehill that it was. Only half a crappy day, not a whole day. Just a bump in the road. And a good reminder that I need to start practicing more self care and stop procrastinating when I’m feeling loathsome.

 

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