From recent comments here and in the forums, it seems like there are more than a few of us who are struggling through this winter. I’ve experienced pretty bad seasonal affective disorder in the past, but I’m actually doing ok this year, save for some sleep deprivation and challenge getting my postpartum thyroid levels under control (they’re starting to level off, though, finally). Fortunately, we’ve had a fair share of sunny days, I make sure to get fresh air and exercise every day (even if it’s just a brisk walk to the store and back), and I haven’t been going overboard with my usual go-to comforts (booze, chocolate, bread and cheese. Mmmmm…). I also try to schedule at least one social activity during the week with friends that does not include my children. (It’s so easy when you’re a mom of young children to count play dates or kids’ birthday parties or school pick-up, where you technically are interacting with other adults, as your social life, and, while those interactions certainly have meaning, they aren’t the same as kid-free hang-outs.) And Drew and I are making an effort to have a date at least once every three weeks (tomorrow night we’re going to see M. Ward and Jenny Lewis!).
There are other changes I’ve made this winter to help stave off seasonal depression. I’m making sure to get out of the apartment during my designated work hours — those three mornings a week when Joanie’s with a sitter and Jackson’s in school. Usually, I try to maximize my limited work time by simply staying home, which also allows me to do laundry and prep meals and stuff like that. But when I’m not getting out as much in the evenings because it’s dark and cold, it’s super important I change my scenery earlier in the day, so I’ve been setting up shop at neighborhood cafes, and I think that’s helping to keep the winter blues at bay.
A few other things that are helping: I tried something new (spin class; didn’t love it, but didn’t hate it and I’m going to try it again tomorrow morning); I’m making time for reading, an activity I always enjoyed but haven’t made much time for in recent years; I colored my hair (it’s not a huge change or anything but I like it and it perked me up); I made a New Year’s resolution (and have mostly stuck with it) to talk on the phone every week to at least one long distance friend (this one is a challenge because I don’t love talking on the phone and I’m always so tired at the end of the day and would rather veg out, but I’m finding that the effort is worth it).
Anyway, those are a few ways I’m surviving the winter and feeling pretty good despite the shorter, darker, colder days. How are you all doing? Do you have steps you take to help ward off the winter doldrums? Are they helping?