I am making this list for myself. I decided to share it as an afterthought and am excited to do so, but it may not fit anyone else's lifestyle or choices. I just happen to feel better when these things happen. So here it is! I hope it helps someone else battling this type of depression out there:
#1: Music. Whether you love gospel (I am seriously enjoying Third Day right now) or rock (Amy Lee rocks my world!) or anything in between turn it on and turn it up. Unless you are trying to hold a long and deep conversation it will most likely infuse you with a driving beat, a need to move, and a bit more of a cheery attitude by the time you turn it down.
#2: Get lost. A good book, a TV show you used to love but haven’t caught up on, a garden plot that you can dig up in the rain… whatever will take you away for an hour or two so you can come back refreshed.
#3: Warm food. It always makes me feel better to have warm food in the winter. Summer is for smoothies, ice cream sundaes, and BBQ burgers on the grill. Winter is for roasted veggies, hot oatmeal for breakfast, and tea or hot cider any time at all.
#4: Get outside every single day. Rain or shine. Buy a good umbrella and decent shoes. Put the baby (or toddler) in the stroller and cover them up with a nice blanket. If you need to, give them a critter warmie to help them stay warm while you take a nice brisk walk. (A cup of rice in a old sock will do the trick as well.) You don’t have to be going anywhere… but the outside air will do you good and make you feel more alive every time. Even if it is just around the block.
#5: Keep your feet warm. I have noticed a serious decline in my mood when my feet get cold. I keep socks on and most of the time slippers or shoes, even in the house.
#6: Take your vitamins. Vitamin D is shown to be low in most people who live in northern climates (like Seattle). It does many things but one is regulates mood elevators so keep that on hand for when you feel down. St John’s Wart is proven to help battle depression and ease symptoms of despair. Both of these are on my daily regimen for all 9 of the Winter months we have here in the Pacific NW. (I so wish I was joking.)
“Research tells us that 14 out of any10 individuals likes chocolate.”
~ Sandra Boynton
If you just can’t pull out of it (or have only been taking your vitamins for a day or two and want a quick fix) try chocolate. Seriously. Chocolate contains tons of the chemical in our brain that helps up feel loved and satisfied. Even though it is a temporary fix, a chunk of dark chocolate can help the scary feelings go away. Just be careful not to go overboard and make sure you get GOOD chocolate! A Hershey bar may taste good but the calories are not worth the tiny amounts of actual chocolate (and good feeling chemicals) that you would be getting. The idea is to make you feel better! Not help you gain 10lbs.
#8: Enough sleep. When the weather takes a turn for the really dark and dreary it seems that all I want to do is sleep. But real sleep, good sleep, often eludes me as I think of all the undone things I have to do in my head. (The baby doesn’t help this year, but this has been an issue for as long as I have had SAD.) Taking a bath before bed, a warm cup of tea, and making sure I actually go to bed when I am tired instead of just cuz I am feeling blue are some of the things I do to battle this issue. My morning workouts really help with this issue as well. For some reason, if my body moves a lot each day, I sleep better.
#9: Turn off the screens. I know this seems silly when the weather is so crappy outside, but when I find myself in front of the computer every time I turn around I know I am starting to get depressed. I try to turn to something beautiful instead. A piece of artwork (wet-on-wet water color is awesome!), or some new food creation is what works for me most of the time. What pulls you into the creative?
#10: Most of all, know you are NOT alone! So many people battle this in our society of northern-living indoorsmen. Many people don’t get outside every day to do anything but walk from one interior to another. It’s bad for our bodies and just not natural, but it is part of our society and most definitely ‘normal’.
I hope this list helps you! It needs to be posted to my brain right now but it will definitely help me.
Many Autumn Blessings!