5 Simple Steps to Find Happy in the Dark that is November, December, January …..
It's November 1st. Although today is sunny. I'm looking at fall foliage. I know what's in store. It isn't bright. I don’t know about you but I can suffer from the winter blues. As a child, I used to love when the clocks fell back. It meant an extra hour of sleep which was of particular importance to me. Today as an adult I know it means 4 pm darkness. No more evening walks. Living in the dark. Not seeing the light of day for weeks on end. My word. I get depressed even typing that paragraph.
There are a few things that I’ve done over the years to help combat the winter blues, that seem to have worked. This year I’m prepared – I’m ready to tackle the winter blues. Here’s my personal arsenal.
1. Sunshine light bulbs. These things help. We replaced most of the light bulbs in our home with them. I thought it was a crazy idea at first, but they work. Some are obnoxious so you need to shop around but they can lighten your mood. I find the Phillips Brand here in Canada to be the best for me. Phillips has a wake-up alarm system that simulates the sunrise and sunset. It helps you get up in the morning and fall asleep at night naturally. Technology is amazing, isn’t it? It’s a little pricey, but it’s something I’m going to look into. Link here if you’re interested. WAKE-UP.
2. Vitamin D. I’m terrible with vitamins. I have loads of them in a basket and go through spurts where I take them religiously. Then at some point, I feel like an organ transplant recipient. I resent a number of pills I’m taking each day and stop. But there are three pills which seem like give ins to me.
- A good quality daily vitamin.
- Some Omega Three that doesn't cause fishy burps. Fishy burps are nasty. They're like having a fish-gutting factory prop up your mouth.
- Some Vitamin D. So many of us on the Northern Hemisphere are deficient in Vitamin D. Vitamin D is important not only for mood. It is a preventative vitamin against many diseases including Cancer. It’s a great vitamin to have in your daily arsenal.
3. Get out for a daily walk. With such a short amount of daylight hours finding time in my work week to get outside for a walk isn’t easy. I have to make it a priority. When it’s raining and raining and raining. When I see animals walking in pairs to some destination … it all seems so pointless. But if it’s a nice day – I make the effort to get outside for thirty minutes. Last year I remember putting on my snowshoes and heading out for walks in my neighbourhood. It was wonderful. I remember the feeling now a year later.
4. Having purpose. OK, so all the other stuff I’ve mentioned is typical. Scientific. But for me, having a purpose, something to do. A goal. Something to look forward to has an immense impact. Last year I was working towards PLUSH RED CHAIR. I had deadlines for grants. I was recording. I was working towards a goal. That pursuit of a big goal was invigorating. I’m not sure what my goal will be this year, but I will be sure to have one. It won’t be as big as putting out an album. But I’m going to give myself something to work towards. An inspiring and creative goal with deadlines. It will keep me busy with something to focus on besides the lack of sunlight.
5. Music. Fill the house with music. Music soothes the savage beast and energizes the gloomy. Music is magical. Music is the secret sauce that spices up your winter. Here’s what you do –
- Put on some music in the morning to energize you. Whatever cranks your mood. Oldies. Summer hits. I love Latin music. Cuban music. It lightens my mood instantly. And for goodness sake sing along! It doesn’t matter if you can’t hold a tune. (or sing the language in my case) This is your stage. Own it. Everyone should sing. EV-ERY-ONE! Every day. It’s amazing what it does for your well being. I’m going to repeat IT DOESN’T MATTER IF YOU THINK YOU CAN'T SING. Sing. Sing at the top of your lungs while you’re making your breakfast if you can. Sing in the shower. Sing a love song to your spouse. Sing with your children. Sing a bit while out on your walk. Just sing.
- Dance along. OK. I am not a great dancer. I would have loved to have been a great dancer. But I am not. Meh. You can’t have everything. You know what I realized a few years back? It doesn’t matter. Dancing is as natural to us as singing. We all may not deserve to be on Broadway. So what? Who cares? Dance anyway. Do you ever notice a little child? A child that is 18 months old? What do they do when some good music comes on? They start to bounce to the music. They may make sounds to simulate singing. It’s natural. It's only when we get older that we put these limitations on ourselves that we have to be good at it. STOP IT! Dance. Wiggle away at the stove. Grab your partner and twirl them around. Dance with your children. Grandchildren. Put some fun in your morning and in your home. Let the music move you both physically and emotionally. It’s a scientific fact that singing and dancing is good for you – but we don’t need a case study. Do it once and you’ll know. And whatever you do, don’t let what other people say stop you. Your job is to be so infectious that you bring them over to the bright side. Mwa ha ha.
- On the commute to work put on some more music and if you can do some more singing. I have the perfect CD for you. PLUSH RED CHAIR is a great sing-along CD. Shameless plug. But it is my blog. 😎
- Finally at home in the evening, turn off the TV (after Scandal). Put on some music that soothes. Music that feeds your soul. For me its some jazz. For you, it may be something different. OR, if you play an instrument like the piano or guitar. Play. I’m not the best guitar player. I’m still learning and always will be. But when I pull the guitar out in the evening and play, I don’t have to worry about waking the neighbours. I notice the animals in the house relaxing. I calm. My husband falls asleep on the couch – actually he fell asleep during Scandal and sort of stayed there. Its as though the house settles. It's not because I’m stellar, trust me. It’s music. Music is powerful.
So there you have it. 5 simple steps to help you get through the darkness that is November, December, January and February. I hope it helps you lighten the dark.