Having lived in Alberta for the last 13 years I’ve had my fair share of symptoms related to Seasonal Affective Disorder Its acronym “S.A.D”- How very appropriate. I’d also like to add a new term to the list as well. The Seasonally Angered Disorder, because when its “Minus Death” outside, you literally cannot help but be pissed off with everything that makes you have to leave the warmth of your home or car.
For myself this yearly festivity of misery is compounded with a stressful job which is a sure recipe for a total unravelling of sorts. So when I tell you the first thing I do when the snow hits the ground is devise a Winter Blues Action Plan– because who has the time to come unraveled. Unless your Britney Spears who can shave her entire head and then go on to secure a Vegas Show and stay comfortably supported in a mansion in the hills. Not all of us can afford to be rich and crazy.
Love you Brit Brit.
For the rest of us peasants, life goes on with screaming children, Covid outbreak school closures, lost income, and no sign in sight of reprieve. To boot, Christmas is around the corner, work is piling up and life just isn’t very sympathetic to our ailing spirits. We can either hide in our closets in the fetal position or attempt to curb perhaps the inevitable. And if you are curled up in the fetal position as we speak, its all good, wipe those tears and consider making a list like this for yourself tomorrow.
So this year my Winter Action Plan needed to be tweaked, as I realized spending it cozied up alongside hundreds of warm bodies at a pub was not going to be happening during a pandemic. I can’t say I’ll miss standing freezing my ass off in the lines outside of National or any popular watering hole here In Calgary. However I do feel like I will need to compensate for my 100 meter dash to the car I often counted on to burn those extra 15 calories off, of the 8000 I consumed in Beer.
But maybe that’s it! There could be a silver lining?
So here is my Winter S.A.D. Action Plan!
- Less Liquor– Consider this your year to opt out of those unnecessary holiday Christmas party benders. Rather than look at how you may miss the parties and gathering, look at what you may be gaining from not consuming all the added calories. Now if you are a responsible drinker, you know the kind that can stop at 2 then your probably thinking this doesn’t apply to you. I’m the type I’m sure my doctor would classify as the “binge” drinker. It sounds horrible just like in the same way our BMI index states we are morbidly obese when we thought we weren’t one croissant away from my 600 lb. life. I don’t drink during the week at my home, or weekly to be honest with you, but when I do, it’s a bottle of two a wine, maybe some shots, and always doubles. So this winter is my opportunity to not only give my liver a good break, but also an ability to steer away from all the calories those binges bring to the waistline.
2. Since I’m saving money from not drinking the pubs and restaurant dry- I have some additional extra cash flow to buy a new snowboard and hit the slopes more. Yes, the cold will still make me angry, but being out in the sunshine freezing is better than skulking in the darkness and not soaking up the Vitamin D needed for mood and immune system! You see sending more time outdoors doing fun activities will decrease the likelihood of getting sick as well due to not being around a bunch of coughing, sneezing, germ infestations. Snowboarding is something that I have loved to do all my life, and I’m lucky to be so close to so many mountains.
3. Schedule in the gym/classes As in make it a 5 day a week priority. Slotting my gym time into my Day/Timer a week at a time is helpful because that way I can schedule less important things around it. I find its helpful right now too that I have to book my gym appointments through the YMCA which is having some positive effects on my accountability and am mindful about attending those set gym appointment times.
4. Getting out for Daily Walks and Coupling it with a Good Podcast– Since I have become a fur mama to a very Active American Akita, it has become apparent we are both happier after a good long walk. I’m happier because she is less likely to act like a little asshole, and in turn I’m able to take in some knowledge and new learning while she inspects every tree and leaf along the way. Not only am I getting in more daily steps, burning some calories, but getting some much needed fresh air that leaves me less energy to worry about any kind of looming anxiety coursing through my veins.
5. Working on Something Productive in my Spare time that brings me joy. So in my case I love to write my blog, focusing on building an audience, and developing more ideas to add to it. It keeps my mind occupied and bustling with ideas where I can stay connected with the outside world. The blog world has been a major learning curve for me as not only is my writing still a skill I’m growing but perhaps a business at some stage in the future. I have also enjoyed crafting more and more which is something I had previously turned my nose up too. The ability to create has the ability to redirect nervous energy into something that soothes and calms some of the dark sad thoughts that can creep up as a result of the winter isolation.
6. Get Cooking Again-I used to really love to cook, but over the last 6 months I have been on some crazy diets that have literally taken the fun out of cooking. Meal Preps can often take the fun out of eating as certain diets can be restrictive as well as daunting when you factor in the grocery lists and ingredients needed to make something that only you are interested in eating. And to be perfectly honest after all these “diets” I am no different weight than I was these last 10 years. It always comes back and I’m left feeling ashamed. So I say F*** that this Winter. I’m taking it back to the old school where Avocado Oil wasn’t a thing, and I wasn’t logging my Macros. With that being said, I don’t intend on nourishing my body either with garbage. According to Meghan Sedivy, RD, dietitian for Fresh Thyme Farmers Market in Plainfield, Illinois, says the winter months are a good time for root vegetables — think beets, potatoes, and rutabagas — as well as citrus fruits, such as blood oranges, white grapefruit, and autumn honey tangerines. Root vegetables are high in potassium, while citrus fruits offer fiber and vitamin C to help boost immunity, which is especially clutch this time of year, Sedivy says. Root vegetables are easy to incorporate in soups and stews, helping boost your vegetable intake for the day.
7. Meditation-I’ve admittedly been slacking on this. However meditation is something I began at the start of the Pandemic and utilized it to come to terms with the feelings of powerlessness, loneliness, grief and loss I was experiencing at that time. I went from scuttle bug to sad dormant half dead beetle when we went into lockdown-I was desperate, bored, and bummed out so I turned to meditation skeptically. I couldn’t believe though how well my spirit, mind and body responded to it. I’ve since migrated my interests into the world of Crystals and Rocks-where sometimes faith can blossom hope, and hope turns into actualizing outcomes.
8. Taking Vitamins– Like not just vitamin C that comes with your Sunday Mimosa’s. But the kind that are tailored to your specific needs and desired status of health you feel you need to attain. You can simply order pre-packaged daily vitamins packs that will meet your every need. They make it so easy and it’s a 5 second gulp which can make or break the Winter blues. There are lots of site but ensure you go with a quality and reputable company like VTMN Packs.
9. Reach out more to friends who I enjoy spending time with, and making sure I stay open and honest about how I am feeling. As the saying goes its okay to not be okay.
Whether these are things you are already doing or perhaps this list looks daunting to you, I encourage you to tailor one for the coming months that is realistic for you. And be kind, to yourself, you are up against the winter elements that wreak havoc on our hormone levels. The brain produces less serotonin without sunlight, which can cause depression, and less sunlight can also increase melatonin, which can heighten feelings of sleepiness.”
So its not you, it’s the season. Might as well make it your bitch!