But. Then came the Polar Vortex, and winter is lingering like a dog's toot at a holiday party. SAD has been seeping in with the cold draft under the door. But over the years I've learned to count my blessings for the comforts and strategies that combat SAD.
Preferably dark. Hot cocoa works too. Seriously, there are studies. You can look it up on the internet.
Warm and beautiful on the grayest of days. This is especially effective if you have a window view from the couch. Just bask in the warmth as you literally laugh in the face of Old Man Winter.
Thank you, Dog That Must Be Walked
Ever heard that if you feel depressed you need to get up and get out no matter how impossible it seems? Dog owners with the blues have an infallible enforcer of compliance with that prescription. Nothing like a whiny, stir-crazy dog alternately pleading and eyeing me with contempt to get me off the couch and into my long underwear. Before you know it I'm laughing at the ugliest snow princess ever to grace a suburban yard.
Thank you, Fiction Writers
They take us out of our heads and into someone else's for a while. The best of them remind me that my problems are rather silly compared to the insurmountable crises their characters overcome.
Thanks, Friends and Family, Part I
They don't realize the magic. As my daughter says when thanked, "Of course"! But those daily contacts, real or virtual, are life-giving. On a gloomy day, getting a few "likes" on a Facebook link makes me feel like appreciated. Whether it's skyping with a grandchild, getting texted a photo of the snow from an adult daughter's back porch, holding hands at the movies with my spouse, or hearing about a friend's vacation, it lifts my spirits. Depression corrodes self-worth. It may be self-centered, but this is a time when I need to be reminded that others care.
Thanks, Friends and Family, Part II
The other side of that coin is doing things for others. "Like" their photo on Facebook, send them an e-card, do one of your spouse's usual chores, bring home a surprise bottle of wine, fix a special dessert…whatever it is that you do for a family member or friend, it just plain feels good. A little bit of 'pay it forward' for a total stranger works too. Tiny stuff - like letting someone in front of me in traffic - is enough to improve my day.
Not a complete list, is it? Do you get SAD? If so, what do you do that lifts your spirits while waiting for Spring?