Winter Blues – Embracing Your Inner Bear

“Coldness creeps and slinks and sneaks, with a voice like metal, sharp and bitter. The forest moans and groans and creaks. That is the way that winter speaks.”
Mary Oliver

Winter Blues – Embracing Your Inner Bear

Am I the only one whose happiness depends on the amount of sunlight available? Winter is coming…

I dread the waking in the dark (even more so now with load shedding), the cold I feel in my bones (a sign of age?).

I can feel my soul shriveling the colder it gets. Yes, there is something about fireplaces, hot chocolate, running with layers on, boots, and pretty coats, the increase of red wine, carbs and calorie-rich anything…. But most of the time, I am waiting for my Jasmine to bloom, earlier light through my windows, the colours appearing everywhere.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

I was relieved to find out that winter blues is a ‘thing’. It is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and is a type of depression that occurs during specific seasons, typically winter. It is characterised by:

  • Low moods
  • Decreased energy levels.
  • Changes in your appetite
  • Oversleeping
  • Difficulty in concentration,
  • A general feeling of lethargy.

 

Its cause is believed to be related to reduced exposure to sunlight, which can disrupt the body’s internal clock and affect neurotransmitter levels in the brain. The experts say that light therapy can be helpful in managing SAD.

‘My Survival Kit’

As most of us don’t own a light therapy box, I would like to share with you my survival kit for the winter blues, aka Embracing my inner Bear.

  • Find a moment in the day to be outside – weather permitting. Winter sun is luxurious.
  • Move, even if it is 10 minutes a day. Read the science.
  • Watch what you eat. 1-2 kg. weight gain may be okay, but summer is coming. Think before you eat. My philosophy of 80/20 works for me.
    • 80% of the time I eat in a very Spartan way.
    • 20% of the time I say yes to cheese curls, hot chocolate, and red wine. But don’t confuse the percentages!
  • Get enough sleep – 6 hours is not enough!
  • Create a cocoon of comfort: favourite books, blanket, socks, beanie…
  • See the beauty in winter. The bleakness satisfies the poet in my soul.
  • Adjust your routine, ritual. In winter I meditate more in bed than on my pillow cushion. I run later, I find time pockets that work for me.
  • Embrace the old to renew… I become even more sentimental in winter. I reread old favourites, messages, letters, and connect with people.

 

May your winter be a place of safety, a sanctuary… while we wait on Spring to sprung!

“Hello, sun in my face. Hello, you who made the morning and spread it over the fields…
Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness.”
Mary Oliver