Winter Blues? It’s a Thing

January 17, 2018

It sure is “a thing” around here. Sometimes it’s just a bummed out, blah kind of feeling. But for other people it’s a form of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) that usually begins in the fall and continues through the winter months.

SAD is common where I live due to the shorter days and a whole lot of grey, overcast or rainy days. Dark, cold, and rain for days on end seem to be the perfect recipe for SAD.

If someone is already dealing with depression, anxiety or grief, then this seasonal loss of light can be particularly challenging.

The American Psychiatric Association reports that roughly 5% of the U.S. population struggle with it. A current theory is that SAD is linked to changes in the brain caused by less light which disrupts a person’s circadian rhythm.

Many of my clients talk about having SAD and want tools to cope with it. I’ve put together the following list of suggestions based on three decades of listening and helping people cope with these winter blues.

It helps to have a plan and to use it.

Here are some things for you to try:

1. Get enough sleep.
2. Have your Vitamin D levels checked and supplement if needed.
3. Keep your body moving. Go for a walk. Go to the gym. Dance in your living room.
4. Get a light therapy box with 10,000 lux. Sit in front of it for 20-30 min every morning.
5. If the sun comes out, change your plans and get outside in it.
6. Spend time in nature even if it’s rainy and cold.
7. If you can’t find sun, go find snow in the mountains. It’ll lighten things up for you.
8. Taking a winter vacation? Go where there’s sun.
9. Meditate.
10. Be intentional about spending time with your friends. Love is a different kind of light.
11. Get a sunrise alarm clock.
12. Watch for cravings for carbs, sugar, alcohol. Your body is looking for dopamine.
13. Get bodywork like massage or craniosacral.
14. Acupuncture.
15. Yoga. Qigong. T’ai chi.
16. Energy work.
17. Get a pet. Walk your dog.
18. Watch utube videos of giggling babies or people laughing.
19. Make a playlist of songs that lift your mood. Listen to it.
20. Do something that makes you happy.
21. Make something. Make art. Make chicken soup. Just make something

This is my working list? Got any of your own to add? Please share.

Ho what?

Ho’oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian healing technique. All you have to do is say these four short statements:

  • I’m sorry.
  • Please forgive me. (I forgive you)*
  • I love you.
  • Thank you.

You repeat them over and over again.

It’s a powerful practice that can be used to heal all our relationships including those who have died.

Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it?

I used this recently for my relationships with my parents.  Only I didn’t read the directions carefully. Instead of saying, “please forgive me”, I ended up including the statement, “I forgive you”.  While this wasn’t necessarily an authentic use of Ho’oponopono, it was was what I needed to say.*

On the morning of the third year anniversary of Mom’s death, I wanted to honor her in a special way. I held her parents’ mala beads in my hand as I repeated statements of love and gratitude over and over again. I felt my heart expand with love, joy and lightness.

A few days later, I was thinking about Dad.  He died 10 months ago.  I hadn’t had a sense of him and wanted to clear out any blocks on my end. I chose to use rosary beads to say these statements to Dad.  (He was a big fan of the Catholic rosary) As I worked my way around the beads, I said my variation of all four statements.  One bead per statement.  I paused when memories or emotions would surface.  Again, I felt my heart expand and was able to release some old resentments.

Why don’t you give it a try?

“I’m sorry. Please forgive me”  This helps with any regrets you might have after they die. Use this if you are bothered by thoughts like, “I should have________________”  or  “If only I’d ____________________________.

“I love you. Thank you.” Do you wish you’d told them more often?  You still can. Have you thought of things you’re grateful for that you didn’t think to say before they died? You can tell them now.

I liked using different prayer beads. If you don’t have prayer beads, you can use your fingers. If you don’t want to do that, just say the statements or your variations of them.

If you need help with your grief, send me an email.  marilyn@marilynboyle.com

Aloha

prayer beads

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