For many of you, it’s winter and it’s not going away any time soon. A former midwesterner myself, I understand winters can be very very very long. Once holiday celebration and football season is over, winter can be a drag. Worse, it feels like it should be almost spring (Target doesn’t help by displaying the bathing suits immediately inside the front doors), but in reality, spring is at least four months away. Until at least April. And sometimes even in April you can’t wear short sleeves…which sucks. I’m not trying to be a downer, I’m empathizing and anyone in the midwest or east coast knows I speak the truth. Sledding is really only appealing until January and then…we want to wear shorts. I get it. Cabin Fever.
So let’s talk about something that might catch us while we are in the “cabin,” a little thing called S.A.D. (Seasonal Affected Disorder). Do you know what it is? It basically means that because of the cold, dry air, lack of light, too much time spent indoors, and nature that isn’t exactly “alive” and…we get depressed. This is the reason so many snowbirds get out of dodge by leaving for a couple months and so many others take a good vacation between January and March. We are governed by the nature around us and when that nature is lifeless, we often feel the same.
Now, there is nothing we can do about the weather, but there are some things we can do to make ourselves feel a bit better in the interim. Afterall, nothing lasts forever, even an ultra crappy winter. Chin up, that’s the good news! Other good news is, you have a bright light inside, so don’t forget to use that as your utmost power while in the cabin.
Here are some ideas to stay HAPPY instead of S.A.D.:
• Go to the sun. Plan one good vacation and at least one long weekend between January and April so that you have little things to look forward to. It’s imperative to get to the sun and relax. This is life, use your vacation time.
• Light it up! Fireplaces and candles bring heat and light.
• Eat foods for your mood.
• Oil massage. Warm oil and touch keeps our vata calm, giving us a sense of peace. Not to mention, oils are completely nourishing for winter skin. Best if used before a shower so the water doesn’t dry the skin out even more. You’ll feel like a bebe! Use almond (pitta), sesame (vata) or sunflower (kapha) oils from our good friends at Banyan Botanicals!
• Keep your hands and feet warm! If they are cold it will make the rest of you cold, ankles too! Tip: put your socks over the end of a blowdryer, warm them up, and quick put on feet!
• Head, shoulders, knees, and toes. Knees and toes. Literally! Breaking up the day with short bursts of exercise or just some good deep breaths will increase prana (life breath) and that’s what you need!
• Aromatherapy. It can be any scent that makes you happy but some ideas are: lavender, sandalwood, jasmine, gardenia, grapefruit, ylang ylang. Put on your wrists, drop on the floor of your shower, add to baths, add in a diffuser.
• Vitamin D supplements. Those can be helpful.
• Sit in a warm bath, hot tub, steam room, or sauna. Baths are good for all doshas. Hot tub and steam rooms are best for vata. Sauna is good for kapha. Pitta…feel these out, they all might be too hot for you.
• Buy fresh cut flowers or plant bulbs in a colorful pot indoors. Paperwhites, hyacinths, or tulips bring nature indoors.
• Play great music. Harry Belafonte is fun music for dreary days.
• Take classes in something you love. You have the time! It will give you something to look forward to each week for a certain amount of time, making the dregs move by faster and get you out of the cabin.
• Be with friends, family and loved ones. Your heart will light up and stay warm when you have love in your life.