It’s no secret that I’ve struggled with depression during difficult periods in the past. My new revelation is that since this past spring, I have been medication-free. It took a few weeks to wean off the prozac, but knowing I can be fine without the drug makes me feel more in control of my body, somehow. For many people, medication can be absolutely necessary and there may be a time when I resume, but for now I am trying other methods to keep the blues away. In order to maintain good mental health, I’ve made a few things in my life a priority. Living in the northern hemisphere, these steps can be hard to maintain once November hits. These seven tricks are paramount to how I fight the winter blues, and I hope they help you as well!
It is actually starting to get dark here in Vancouver at about 4:30pm, so daylight is harder to come by than ever. Rainy, grey season is upon us, and even if it isn’t raining, I many not see the sunshine for 30 or 40 days at a time. Staring at blank white walls doesnt help, but my HappyLight does. No – not a happy pill! A light. The intense Verilux HappyLight Liberty 10k natural spectrum light mimics daylight. Having it on by my bed for just 30 minutes as I wake or read lightens my mood and gives me engery. I’m kicking SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) to the curb. Right now these great lights that help fight the winter blues are at Costco for only $99.
While it’s rainy and dark outside, there are still magnificent sights to cherish in nature. Even the colours you see scuba diving in British Columbia are said to be some of the best in the world, albeit only enjoyed with a dry suit. Our forefathers didn’t skip their activities due to inclement weather, and we shouldn’t wither. Plus it’s a very good excuse to shop for fabulous foul weather gear… Staring at the perfection of nature and trying to really ‘see’ it daily helps keep me grounded and centered.
Being active in life, I always think of myself as ‘fit’, but during the winter months, a few extra minutes snuggled up with the cat by the TV each day and skipping a workout due to rain can lead to muscles that aren’t as strong as they should be. (It’s been pointed out to me that I am not actually the wicked witch of the west and will not melt due to rainfall). Doing something – anything – to engage muscles and work up a healthy glow helps boost my mood significantly.
This is such an easy one, and yet I tend to forget to drink water all the time. Adding a lemon and drinking first thing in the morning has such health-boosting benefits, and making myself actually slice a lemon seems to elevate the experience and the drink as well. Sometimes I even put it in a wine glass when I’m feeling fancy.
When fresh produce isn’t as plentiful it’s easy to slide more into comfort food binging. I also generally prefer hot food to cold, so for me this is a struggle all year long. The lemon water kickstarts the tastebuds for freshness, and smoothies further it. Frozen blueberries, bananas and coconut water whizzed in the blender are simple to drink and I can even have a hot meal with my smoothie! Sometimes I add kale, celery or whatever is in the fridge to pack in some extra health benefits.
I wish Disney soundtracks could be piped through every tree and bush year-round. Alas, that never happens unless I’m at a Disney park. Music truly soothes my soul, and whether I’m singing or trying to learn guitar, by soul feels a bit lighter each time. If you don’t play an instrument, organizing playists works well for me too!
Whenever I feel low, amalgamating jars of pickles or straightening up my scarf drawer always make me smile. Eliminating chaos is very cleansing. Lately, that means even trying to keep computer files filtered – and staying far away from social media, which is feeling like judgemental pandemonium. Playing with outfits in the closet is a much happier pastime!
These seven tricks have gotten me through the most recent dark days. (I love saying ‘dark’ in referring to the amount of light outside and not my personal mood! As we head into the holiday rush, I wish you brightness, positivity and the happiest of outlooks, and hope these 5 tricks to fight the winter blues help!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Verilux and every giddy moment, opinion and happy feeling I have about my success with the HappyLight are my own. Even though I really think you should try it too. #HappyLight