Here in Western Pennsylvania it's a quiet time of year. It has finally turned cold, bringing a taste of the winter weather than usually starts in November. The sun is rarely seen as clouds crowd the sky. Mixtures of rain, snow, and ice fall, so few people are out and about for the fun of it. It would be easy to fall into a state of, not depression, but
waiting. That's it. We wait as the exterior grayness is mirrored by physical quietness, lassitude, an increased desire for sleep, and an air of somberness.
Our physical environment and emotional state mirror one another. If we are happy and joyous, the darkest day can seem brighter. At the same time, dark days can dampen our spirits. To one extent or another, seasonal affective disorder makes it's inroads on each of us if we let it.
It's natural that we experience an emotional ebb and flow as the seasons turn and change. We are as much a part of the world as the rabbits and the wolves. In these dark days in the mid of winter there are several things we can do to help to get our spirits up and renew the pleasure in life that we've let the clouds cover up.
- If you're at all able to do so, get out for a bit. Our bodies aredesigned for the full spectrum of sunlight. Though it's dimmed by theclouds, some sun is better than none. The more light you get, thebetter.
- When you are inside, open all you curtains and turn on the lights. If you have a full spectrum light, use it at least 30 - 60 minutes a day.
- Don't get carried away with high carbohydrate foods. The easier your food is to digest, the less energy is needed for food processing and the more is available for happiness.
- Read funny books. Watch comedies.
- Spend time with people you enjoy.
- Exercise every day. It can be stretching, yoga, jogging. The type doesn't matter. The activity does. Regular exercise is as important to your emotional health as it is to your physical health.
Above all, remember you are in control. Your emotional state is influenced by your environment, but you have the final say about how you feel.
As Abe Lincoln said, "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." Change your environment to make it work for you, instead of against you.