~:: by Alexandra Rosas of Good Day, Regular People ::~
Knowing the root cause of a problem, empowers me. If I’m able to understand the seed from which a dilemma may spring forth, then I can arm myself.
I learned this technique of knowledge acquisition as my sword and shield from a therapist years ago. Before meeting her, I waded through the winter months with a tried-and-so-not-true-how’s-that-not-working-for-you approach. A big ugly monster in my life is the winter blues; also known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. I used to think it was just me, sighing twenty times in a row while staring out, chin in hands, of a rain stained window. However, if you ask around, you’ll find many around you struggling with their mood this time of year.
Finding out that the winter blues are not a character flaw or a wimpy response to January, made me feel like I could figure out a way to deal with October through April (probably only January, February for you, but I do everything extreme sports style.) There is a reason, proven and scientific, for the winter doldrums. Less sunlight reduces the serotonin, which is nature’s feel good hormone, that your body makes. When our body makes lots of serotonin, we feel happy. Low serotonin, not so happy.
So if you are like me, and find yourself in winter crying ten times a day and not just to the Hallmark card commercials, and you’re taking everything personally, including the the imagined sneer when the hipster bagger at Trader Joe’s sees that you again didn’t bring your re-usable canvas grocery bags, then I think I can help you with some simple ways to outsmart the winter blues.
Use Pops of Color! On you, on your sofa, on your bed! Tie a mandarin orange scarf around your neck, buy some clearance rack citron or saffron or cerise throw pillows. Buy a new bedspread in Portlandia put-a-bird-on-it style. Really, the human psyche is very influenced by color. Greens and blues are the most uplifting.
Change up your wardrobe. If you find yourself wearing the same clothes so many times in a row that your kids start calling it your uniform, then it’s time to throw those duds in the flames. No more stretched out yoga pants topped with your husband’s shrunken wool V-neck sweater. Take a me-day and visit a retail outlet store, buy yourself a soft periwinkle angora sweater of your own. You’re grown up now, time to wear your own clothes.
Find ways to charge up your physical presence. It only costs $7.00 for a nail color, not a full manicure, at most nail salons. Your feet, minus a full pedi, only run $10.00 for a quick color brush on. I do it at least twice a month; every time I look at my nails and feet, it makes me smile, even when it’s a black manicure.
Listen to your favorite comedians on YouTube at least once a day. My tried and true guarantee is George Lopez. But I swear by Tig Notaro and Tim Hawkins, too. Works every time. Prozac in 5 minutes or less.
Get yourself a light box if you can. If you are able to do it financially, this is an investment you will not regret. Exposure to the rays will stimulate serotonin production in your body. It works.
Exercise. Because exercise is like sunlight for your body; it makes your body make serotonin. Same goes for sleep. Get your sleep, because serotonin is made while you’re at rest. More sleep, more chance for serotonin. I love knowing how things work. Makes it easy for me to see why I have to do what I have to do.
I can’t say this enough times: if you feel you need to see a Doctor, please see a Doctor. If you feel medication would help, please ask for medication. If you feel talk therapy or a support group would really hit the spot right about January 15, then please arrange that. Mental health care, For the Win!
And finally, eat right, take a multivitamin with D, give yourself a hair hot oil treatment complete with towel wrap once a week, make phone calls to your friends, listen to Imagine Dragons and avoid Adele, and hold your pet cat in your lap a lot. Above all, realize you’re not the only one struggling through these winter months. Many of us are right here with you. As long as we keep a bright blue pitcher full of yellow daisies on the kitchen table until March, we stand a good chance of conquering this thing.
ABOUT ALEXANDRA: Alexandra is a first-generation American who writes memoir and humor for various writing websites. She posts on her blog Good Day, Regular People of life in a small town as the mother of three boys where she tries hard to go unnoticed. She was named a 2011 BlogHer Voice of The Year for Humor. a 2012 Babble Top 100 Mom Blogger, and 2012 Most Interesting Blogger and Best Female Blogger by Studio30Plus, an online writing community. She was part of the nationally acclaimed The Moth Live Storyteller’s Tour, and is currently seeking a publisher for her memoir The Real Story of Milwaukee’s First Latino Gang: Tales of an immigrant family and their Colombian bandana-wearing ways.
This piece was written by Alexandra Rosas of Good Day, Regular People exclusively for Bonbon Break Media, LLC.
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