Coping…

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There is no real way to describe the feelings cold weather brings about for me, so “dislike” will have to suffice. BUT I live in Virginia where we experience every single season this green earth has to offer. While I can’t get rid of winter and a little SAD that comes with it, I have found ways to adjust to it and some I’ve used and some I’ve just thought about a little too much in order to help others. Here’s some ways I manage my winter blues.

Leave Yourself Alone – No, I don’t mean isolating yourself further, I mean that when you focus on yourself, this seems to cause the most problems. You get in your own little world and you start to count all that you don’t have and suddenly you may even begin to think you’re the only one having issues. That’s obviously not true but when by yourself, who else is there to talk to about anything? So stop with the self isolation and STOP taking selfies. More about that later.

Enough with the selfie, already. Here’s a rule for the next few months: You CANNOT take a photo if you’re the only one in it! So, absolutely NO SELFIEs. What happens after you take one selfie? You either don’t like it, so you take another one. You post it and everyone comments and you’re back to feeling eh, because people saw it, liked it and they moved on. Why do people take selfies for no other reason than to show someone else, I mean, are you dressed up? No. Are you out with someone special on a date? No? Are you documenting an accident or something for an insurance claim? You know like you just happened to be standing in front of your wrecked car and you’re just documenting the incident for when Nationwide comes around? Okay then WHYYYYYYYYYY???? Don’t you think that’s a little selfie-ish? Are there not more productive things you could be doing with yourself, could you not find one friend to join you in this photo?

Give social media a BREAK – Along with the selfie obsession above, comparison is another evil thing that promotes our need to size each other up and what we’re ALL doing that seems so lackluster or much more fun when compared to our own mundane activities. Why do we torture ourselves looking at others and their awesome pictures? Social media only tells part of the story. You weren’t there or (god forbid) shown a picture of the more devastating time in someone’s life. We all go through tragedy yet we pretend we don’t by posting only the most positive and fun images of our lives. Stop combing through pictures of this or that, I’m guilty of it too but instead, why not call some friends and see how they’re doing, especially the ones you know have had some hard times AND can I say, everyone is around when (and immediately after), tragedy strikes but a few weeks or months after cards and casseroles no longer come through the door, that’s when people REALLY need a friend or unexpected phone call.

Start (or Finally Finish) a New, Short-Term Project or Hobby – Doing something, anything almost, totally commits your mind to this other thing. You can get excited about it, you can relish in it, and depending on what you choose, you very well may have something to show for your effort once the project is completed (or when winter has ended). Going all-in with a project really speeds up time and allows your mind to absorb something besides your problems.

Volunteer – I know this is the number one way to focus on someone else besides yourself, it’s also mentioned so frequently that I put it down further in my list. 🙂

Do the things that you don’t get to do, more often. Make a date with yourself or a friend/spouse and take time to do something that eludes you when there is so much going on in other months. I’m hoping to do this (and yes it sounds like work but honestly, it’s personal time to think about all the things I’d like to and is a necessary component to my mental health. Visit Erin Odum’s Humbled Homemaker Blog and get a copy of her free ebook entitled Your Retreat: A Guide to Giving Yourself a Personal Planning Day AND please take time to plan about your spirit and things that make you emotionally well. I’m not talking so much about planning for work related things although planning time in this arena can excite some folks too. Do what makes YOU happy.

If you could realize that this winter got is just for a little bit it won’t be so bad. Focus on doing one or more of these things and soon you’ll look up to see a bud of new life and light signaling the first thaw of spring, beyond your window.

And finally, one way to look at all this is to be reminded that:

  • Winter, (for most of us) is really only about 12 weeks – that’s just 12 Fridays
  • The Winter Solstice (usually Dec. 21 or 22) is the shortest day of the year, and lastly,
  • In Alaska and/or Canada, winter can sometimes be as long as September – May

After all of that, and it still seems never ending, well goodness forbid you actually take time to find something to enjoy about. Look at it with a little love (or as much “like” as you can muster). Depending on where you live, for me, there are no mosquitos in the winter, no bugs at all really, except a chirping and hopping cricket in November. What else? Oh, I don’t have to shower more frequently because I’m not perpetually sweating, I love winter scenes and writing the cozy-up parts of my romance novels that include fire places, hot chocolate and you know what else? Someone wonderful invented heating blankets to warm whatever body parts you so choose.

No matter what, Spring is coming back! Thank God, right?

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please do not lesson the severity of depression or it’s symptoms, if you need help for depression, including evaluation for clinical diagnosis and treatment please consult a professional or mental health counselor. Talk to someone you trust that can assist you. You can also read this interesting article by the New York Times that discusses online therapy, which can occur all from the comfort of your home.


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