Breaking Down the Winter Blues by Alexandra Rosas of Good Day, Regular People

Breaking Down the Winter Blues

~:: by Alexandra Rosas of Good Day, Regular People ::~

Breaking Down the Winter Blues by Alexandra Rosas of Good Day, Regular People bbb originalKnowing 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.

Breaking Down the Winter Blues by Alexandra Rosas of Good Day, Regular People Breaking Down 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.

photo credit: Per Ola Wiberg ~ powi via photopin cc

 

Breaking Down the Winter Blues by Alexandra Rosas of Good Day, Regular People Alexandra+HeadshotABOUT 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.

Follow Alexandra at www.gooddayregularpeople.com and on Facebook and Twitter.

This piece was written by Alexandra Rosas of Good Day, Regular People exclusively for Bonbon Break Media, LLC.

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Comments

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Comments

  1. says

    Alexandra these are such wonderful tips! I laughed when you said that if you have been wearing the same outfit so many times your kids are calling it your uniform it’s time to put it in the flames. Well that settles it, no grey sweater for me today!! lol! Thank you!

  2. says

    Thank you for the invitation to post at BonBon today, on a subject that challenges me every year. Seasonal Affective Disorder–armed with knowledge, community, support and a sense of humor–we can make it to the other side. We may not like the process, but we’ll love the fruit . Learned optimism.

    Thanks, BonBonBreak.

  3. says

    Great tips, Alexandra! Even for folks like me who don’t have seasons, I can always do with an occasional pick-me-up that isn’t alcohol or chemical. :)

  4. says

    nice…the pops of color is def practical and easy…and works…and it is surprising how much the exercise and eating right makes you feel better, though it goes against our instincts in these moments….

    • says

      We have a treadmill in the basement–and though the thing is possessed and every now and then takes off as if it’s seen a squirrel–I look forward to my time on it every day.

      Thank you, B. You’re a good friend.

      xo

  5. says

    These are excellent perk-me-up tips! I have been wanting to paint my nails – and toes – for a few weeks now, but haven’t made the time yet. It gives me that smiley feeling when I see the splash of colour on my hands and feet. I am going to make time for that this weekend.

    • says

      Perk me ups. I like that. So much truer to fact than Pick me ups.

      Going to borrow that from you.

      Thanks for visiting, I need to come over and catch up.

      xo

  6. says

    I used to get SADD every winter but haven’t had it in about 3 years. What I used to do was turn on every light in my apartment, even rooms I wasn’t in. It gives the effect of daylight and after about 5 or 6 days, my brain readjusted and I wouldn’t need to do it anymore.

    • says

      I do this now, Suzy!!

      It is unbelievable because I need all the curtains pulled open, the shades up, all the lights on and my MIL likes the curtains closed TIGHT and the lights off with the TV on.

      I suffocate when she’s here.

      (thanks for clicking over, Suzy. xo)

  7. says

    So… I’m wondering why you don’t have your own TV show. You’re the next Dr. Phil!!! I’ve MISSED you!! Who needs sunshine when you’ve got a dose of Empress? ♥

    Oh and another horrid, make you pee your pants, mood lifter I use personally, much to my hubby’s chagrin, is Damn You Auto Correct. Omg. Makes me DIE. And is proof that there is always someone else out there who is having a harder time with technology than I am.

    • says

      You make me yearn for the good old days. Remember, Alisha? How much happens in years time, doesn’t it? It’s good to see you.

      xo I miss you. Thank you so much for this wonderful surprise today.

  8. says

    I love this post, Alexandra! Much needed advice…these tips are great, especially as I was literally about to use my amazon MP3 offer to get…ADELE!!! So instead I bought Moves Like Jagger ;-)

    The sun and lack of it impact me in unbelievable ways, and this January is knocking me left and right with sleet one day, summer weather literally the next.

    I went in for a massage the other day but I love your idea about colors, and especially on my nails! Because that is a treat I usually save for summer when the flip flops are out.

    One thing I am going to do this year is de-clutter; I realized that the mess in my house really brings me down, and I am thinking that getting rid of things may be my serotonin.

    And exercise. I got myself a trampoline and 3 hula hoops (one for my waist and 2 for my arms). I need to jazz things up!

    I hope you are doing okay, dear…

    • Bonbon Break says

      Cecilia,
      It is so interesting that you write about the clutter issue. We live in a small space with 4 people and LOTS of kid accessories. We have short days during the winter months (in WA) and the clutter REALLY gets to me. Time for a dumpster (while playin “Moves Like Jagger)! ~Val

    • says

      Oh, Ceci: I have to be very careful with what I listen to. I caution my teens with what they upload on their iPods: I tell them, “a balance, guys: sad is ok, but NOT EVERY TRACK. Have fun, black eyed peas, lots of dance tunes: not all Train.”

    • says

      We love Jim Gaffigan, his wife is from Milwaukee so he does a Christmas show every year when they come home and he visits. LOVE HIM. And Brian Reagan. Also Tim Hawkins does a piece on men not being able to multi task, “Honey? Can you watch the kids? I’m about to make toast and there’ll be a lot going on: lights, settings, electricity. I have to be ready to butter as soon as it comes out. Things are gonna pop up…”

      Have to send you an email. I met Ann Leary the other night, and she reminds me in style and grace, of you.

  9. says

    All good advice Alexandra. If only I could find the cure for my upside down SAD. Hiding under a blanket from the relentless summer sun. Crying because I never get to wear my angora sweaters : )

  10. says

    I want to sit next to you with hot towels on our heads while our hair gets hot-oiled and “It’s Time to Begin” plays on repeat in the background.

    We wouldn’t even need to talk.

    (But maybe we could, anyway.)

  11. says

    I get depressed with what happens to my body in winter months. You’d think the older I get I’d realize vanity is useless, but that extra bit around my middle that gathers in winter and my pasty skin depress the heck out of me. Exercise does help. More with the mind — nothing seems to affect the body. And no, that sneer from the Trader Joe’s checkout person was not imagined. It’s happened to me too. I freakout if I’m halfway through my shopping in the store and realize that my cloth bags are in the car.

    • says

      I know people tan for a reason, you look better. But the damage to the skin. Oy vey.

      Saw you put in 10 miles this week!!!

      I am amazed, jealous, but happy for you.

      Thank you so much for visiting.

  12. says

    Oh, light box, I still remember what I was without you. A wreck.
    Oh, bright orange wool coat, how you make me smile.
    Oh, weepy music, let’s not tell Alexandra how I’ll never stop wallowing with you.

    • says

      One weepy song, OK, I can sign off on ONE weepy song.

      But those entire cathartic playlists. No, I cant allow it, I can’t be the one to pick you up off the ground, dear lady.

      xo

  13. says

    Love this list! I think I struggle more with this winter sadness as I get older. I don’t adapt as well to the cold. And the gray skies just seem heavy.

    I’d better get going to the gym :) I think on the way, I’ll stop by the thrift store for a pop of color!

    • says

      I do thrift stop stops for pops of color!

      Orange scarves around my neck, yellow cardigans, true blue belts.

      IT WORKS.

      And exercise: I am a different person when I do my time on the treadmill to Moves like Jagger and then do my 30 mins of Jillian Michaels.

      It makes me feel purdy good.

      xo

  14. says

    It is amazing what a new nail color can do for me. I love that I know this simple trick to making myself feel better (it’s just a matter of actually doing it sometimes, but for me, it’s magical.)

    • says

      Exactly, Arnebya. It’s knowing what does it for us, and then following through. You know I’m suffering right now with my nephew gone this month, and I have to be aware that I need to work hard to keep myself afloat.

      Thank you so much for your loyalty to me, it lifts me up, with this incredibly difficult season in my heart right now.

      Thank you SO MUCH. You are loyal to so many.

  15. says

    Hello Mamacita — I am so glad I read this today because we’ve had an unusual amount of gray this California winter. I know, we’re pussies. But I wanted to be a gloom advocate. One thing that happens when you live in California and the sun is always out is that you start to feel like a loser, because you look out your window where you’ve been lying around in sweats with a cold or a flu and you see the sun and you think.. what the hell am I missing? I should be out there roller-blading, or kayaking, or para-sailing or I should be hiking, not napping and drinking wine at 2 p.m. Trust me, sometimes you need an excuse to go into your woman lair and fester.

    • says

      It is effort, and deliberateness and promises to our self and our family: I will fight this and get my exercise, my sleep, my water, my outdoors, my quiet time, my positive music.

      It’s hard , Jennie, and I know you’re praying for me right now, with the heaviness in my heart.

      I can feel that you are. THANK YOU.

  16. Rachie says

    Thanks ARS! I LOVE it that we’re still in touch. Let me know when you’re up for coffee again. I enjoy our mornings! RRH

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