By now I think everyone nearly everywhere has been experiencing that time of year that I like to call; the winter blues. You've probably heard of cabin fever and "the crud", but whatever you want to call it, it usually hits hard here around January, and it suuccckkkkss.
Maybe you don't live north enough to experience anything like this, and if so then I envy you! but let me explain: January is typically our darkest and coldest month of the year. Where I live in central Alaska we get around 5hrs of light per day and we're very thankful for it, other towns get either none or around 4hrs, depending on how far North you are. As opposed to our peak daylight which is around 19hrs in July (24hrs if you're in Barrow!)
Basically, between the darkness and sometimes extreme cold (it's been -20°F for the last week or more), we do not get anywhere near enough vitamin d or fresh air.
I'm not saying all this to complain, just to paint a picture. Winters can be rough, especially emotionally.
Having lived here for nearly 21 years now, I've picked up a few tricks for navigating these winter blues, and, as long as I apply them to my daily routine, they usually help quite a bit. So if you are struggling right now, maybe it's worth giving these a shot.
- Take vitamin d: pretty self-explanatory, but even so, it really can help!
- Exercise regularly: whether you workout in a gym, at home, or decide to layer up and venture into the world of outdoor winter sports, these should all boost endorphins and melt away stress. Your muscles will also thank you come summertime. Just take ten minutes and do a yoga routine it doesn't have to be complex and it really can help a lot.
- Practice self-care: I know when people say 'self-care' you typically think taking a hot bath with candles (and if so, that's great!) but it really can be as simple as taking ten minutes to do a devotional or a crossword puzzle or even sit with a cup of tea and just rest for a few moments. Think of the things that make you happy deep down inside, something simple and easy to fit into your schedule, and then do that. It can be difficult to find the time, especially for us moms, but it can make a world of difference to how your day goes and how you feel. Your emotional and spiritual health is essential, and it's well worth taking at least ten minutes to recharge before going back in to handle all the stress of everyday life.
- Laugh often: just like exercise, laughing releases endorphins (the body's natural 'feel-good' hormones). So if you have a favorite comedian, or a funny movie, even a game you can play with loved ones that's sure to make everyone literally roll around on the floor, then do it. It's a fun way to get your spirits back up to face the rest of the winter.
- Buy a happy light!: one good way to beat the winter blues is to simulate sunlight when you can, a lot of people up here use them and swear they make a huge difference when it comes to balancing their moods.
and last, but certainly not least...
6. Count the minutes: we're gaining around a minute of daylight now! in February we'll be gaining around 2.5 minutes of daylight per day! we're almost there, just keep your chin up *cue 'here comes the sun' by the Beatles*