Winter bodes poorly for many. The darkness, the cold, and an inherent human love of hibernation combine to make many of us goblin-like creatures whose shells crack as the freeze flows in.
It's in February that many of us get the blues. October is still colored; November sings a song of impending crispness. December is too busy, and January carries the weight of every turn-of-the-year business task, but in February, with a month to go before the equinox, the darkness is heavy and woolen.
The darkness within seems to mimic the darkness without. It is during this month that we have to ramp up efforts to stay sane as we lace up jackets and boots in the morning and knock the debris off them at night.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is not a myth. The lack of sunlight, particularly in Northern states is real. And this year, even Southern California is feeling the emotional weight of grayness.
Two winters ago, I rented a house surrounded by trees, in a canyon. I was excited to write about the tall blue mountains. But the writing got darker with the cold, and by February the neighboring peaks were detailed in one notebook as "harbingers of death". The northern end of the Swan Range is 7,234 feet tall. With it next door, I never saw the sun before eleven a.m.--and keep in mind that during winter, we don't get much sun as it is.
When you're starting to feel the pinch or perhaps crush of winter, turn to a few data-driven or experience-based methods to help lift yourself out of the rut it can create.
5 TIPS TO GET THROUGH SADness
1. Turn on the high-pressure UVB lamp. This excellent article by Dr. Joseph Mercola explains why commercial sun beds that are designed for nutritive purposes, vs. those that emit UVA light to darken the skin, can be used to assist with vitamin D synthesis in a way supplementation does not provide. Note: this is not an invitation to recklessly tan through the winter. Make sure you are getting a low exposure with the correct type of light, and prior to any exposure, we strongly suggest a high-antioxidant shield like our Daily Antiox Body Serum.
2. Give yourself daily self-care. We don't just offer this as a palliation. During colder months, with our bodies covered up, we offer and seek less touch, both from others and from ourselves. At the same time, our skin suffers. The lack of air-based moisture, the hot showers, the bulky layers all cause us to feel less connected to our physical bodies, right as our skin needs us to take extra care. It's often too cold, and we rush from shower to cozies. Consider applying moisturizers quickly as you exit the shower, and commit to extra intake of healthy fats and warm, healthy beverages.
3. Accept + Nourish Your Sadness. Rather than feeling guilty, allow yourself the Netflix and Chill Session while also incorporating positive meditation-type podcasts (Gil Fronsdal is our founder's obsession). Go the extra mile during the harder months to spend time with friends and family who make you feel good. Know that the edge of sadness is where much of creativity stems from.
4. Eat as many whole foods as you can. When things get stressful, we welcome convenience, but our bodies know the difference between a serving of vegetable soup and a vitamin popped with coffee in the morning. By eating whole foods--fruits, vegetables, nuts--you give your body the tools it needs to extract and discard what is best for balance. This time of year, our bodies are particularly nourished by root vegetables and fatty fish.
5. Leave the house. Seek Art. Throw on an outfit. Dress up a bit. Find a local lounge with open mic nights, or art exhibits and experience emotion through art. This in itself can nourish your soul enough to get through another few weeks of frigid cold.
Luminous is an attitude--backed up by science. Feed your body, brain and soul all at once. Have faith, dear readers, because spring is around the corner. Until then, don't forget to moisturize, strengthen and regenerate.