To be completely honest this last week has been hard for me. I kept my challenge pretty easy for myself and laid low because I knew it would be. This time of year is never easy for me. I love autumn and I get along ok with early winter. November through January I can pretty much forgive the weather and the darkness because it is easily overshadowed by the excitement of the holidays. But late winter? Forget about it. February through to April or sometimes even May is like running a gauntlet where all I can think to do to keep my head above water is escape into some brain numbingly easy to read book series and not come out until spring. This year it started early out of exhaustion. I took on too much, I had a little burn out, and the end of my winter honeymoon came a few weeks early.
Of course this all means that I would like nothing better then to give up on writing this post and keep reading by book and messing around on Pinterest. I have next to no motivation to do anything beyond meeting the basic survival needs of my family. BUT I am not going to do that because one should, at all costs, avoid feeding the beast that is the mid-winter blues.
That in mind my challenge this week will be to focus daily on staying upbeat, positive, and motivated. Some people do this by taking vacations this time of year. Pretty much every social media feed available to me at the moment has been flooded with pictures of sandy beaches and pool side bars, a trend that will surely continue right through February and into March. I however, will not be taking any such vacations so I am just going to have to find a simpler, more earth-friendly way to nurture myself and work through these winter blues.
Daily Nature Walk:I mentioned this is one of my very first posts. Regular direct contact with the outdoors is good for us, and it helps to connect us with the very nature we are hoping to preserve by taking on these weekly challenges. Each day; rain, snow, wind, or occasionally sunshine, my son and I take a walk outside. This walk isn’t anything fancy, it is a toddler paced walk through our neighbourhood that sometimes ends up at a play park a block away but more often ends up as forty-five minutes getting distracted by a nice rock or pretty tree.
I feel better when we stick to this routine. My son feels better when we stick to this routine. Yet I’ve been letting it slide over the last two weeks, cutting walks short or supplementing with walks to do errands instead of enjoyable wanders, so writing this is my reminder to myself to get my butt in gear and keep it up!
Limit the brain candy: If getting outside and being physically active can help to prevent depression then it just makes sense that the same would go for brain activity. This week I am going to stay away from brain-sucking activities that don’t require the creative use of my mind like watching television and playing Angry Birds, while keeping myself entertained with activities that make use of my mind and imagination like writing, playfully debating inane facts with my husband, reading, listening, creating, and playing with my son. Not only do these things involve less power but their entertainment value is far greater in my opinion.
Plant something: I know I mentioned this last week as well, I think I am just getting impatient waiting for gardening season. Either way, in further attempts to ward off nature deficit and my winter blues I am bringing some lush green plant life into my home by way of planting some grass in a shallow container, like a little piece of soft summer lawn in the middle of my dining table. I chose cat grass because it is easy to find year-round and grows really fast. I also have experience with it as last spring I planted it directly into my son’s Easter basket as an alternative to that plastic ‘grass’ bedding sold in stores. We’re also planning on getting a few pepper seeds germinating this week in hopes of getting an early crop for barbeque season.
Meet up with a friend: Some people are energized by social interaction. Some people are not. I fall somewhere in between. I am easily over-stimulated by large groups of people and I tend to prefer doing my own thing in my own way at my own pace most of the time. However, I am also inspired and motivated by meeting new and interesting people when I summon the energy to go out and meet them. This time of year when my motivation to do much more then is absolutely required of me is waning; the first thing to go is my social life.
I’ve been doing alright this year, but I can feel myself loosing enthusiasm for social events I would normally be excited for so I am making a point of getting to them. I almost never regret getting myself out once I am there, just getting there can be tough.
Does anyone else experience seasonal blues like this? How do you work through and stay motivated?