Getting through winter blues

It’s not just me, right?

I was scared to admit it except to close friends, but a classmate (I’m taking an on-line writing class) today confessed to feeling seasonal depression, which gave me permission to admit to related feelings. 

There have been signs everywhere: lack of motivation to finish my Christmas cards, lack of desire to exercise (hmm, this one is so persistent it feels more like a way of life rather than a symptom), lack of excitement at the prospect of a free day (because I knew I would waste it wallowing in blah).

With me it’s seasonal. I get this way every winter after I finish an intense work season. A recent google search about burn-out symptoms shed light on my seemingly inexplicable need to hide in a cocoon: “When burned out, you have a tendency to isolate yourself in an attempt to preserve what energy you have left.”

The weather is a possibility, though I am south enough to not have to deal with snow squalls every three days. But still, I miss the sun.

Sleep deprivation is definitely a culprit. Though I don’t stay up late working or cleaning nor am I being kept up by an infant. I just watch too much t.v. (= husband bonding time; I’m really working on my marriage).

And then, I often wake up before the alarm goes off. And then I start to think too much.

Like how I’ve lost my wedding ring. (I don’t even want to think about it.) In Japan. Three years ago.

Like how I’ve already entered the beginning stages of empty nest.

Like how I canceled plans to go swimming and chose, in its place, to have leftover birthday cake and ice cream.

Small problems loom very large at 4 in the morning.

Small tasks feel very onerous when you have the winter blues.

And so until the little groundhog makes his appearance on Wednesday, I think that I need to keep my (self) expectations low, and shrink that to-do list to a manageable one or two items a day (the whole don’t-set-yourself-up-for-failure approach). Since energy begets energy, I  need to do what I least feel like doing to get through this.

Yesterday I mimicked Fred’s soccer drills on my own, and found that not only did I enjoy them, they are good for my thighs!

Today I am trying out a new salmon recipe.

Two weeks ago, I booked us a cruise to the tropics (yes!).

So I’ll stick on a smile and make myself move until the day comes when all of this becomes effortless. Hopefully, that will be soon, and I will learn to love even winter. 

Do you get seasonal blues? Do you feel burned out (regardless of the season)? How do you cope?

8 thoughts on “Getting through winter blues

  1. Even two or three grey days strung together get me feeling down. I need the sun, but more the blue sky. Living in Chicago was painfully grey. Here in Houston, it’s less so, but still, winter gets me. (so does the awful hot part of the summer when being out is unbearable)

    Small steps. I’m working on my sleep. And eating. But as soon as my guy’s work lessens up, it’s time to focus on that relationship. Probably with a few too many late nights too.

  2. You just summed up my state of mind for the last few weeks: “wallowing in blah.” Now I have words for it! And I know someone else feels, it too! That’s worthy of a few cheerful exclamation marks!! =>

  3. You are right, again.

    I come here because I like you, and also, because I get you..and you get me.

    I wake up already feeling defeated and depleted…and I work hard to overcome that.

    I do deliberate things that I don’t want to: to feel better. I exercise, though I don’t want to.
    I prepare a good meal, though I feel lazy.

    I clean or reorganize, though I have no energy.

    Why? B ecause my children need me to.

    And, also, even though I am depressed, I tell myself that I at least cleaned/exercised/cooked/decluttered: that feels better than depressed and nothing done.

    I’ve learned the hard way.

    Depression is hard work. Medicine can help, but it doesn’t do everything. Talk therapy helps, but doesn’t cure everything.

    It’s human effort to try and do what you can, and that means pushing, even when you don’t want to.

  4. Midwinter is very depressing. I have no energy at all, and have to force myself to exercise and cook dinner (that’s the worst!). I’ve actually been thrilled with all of our snow days because it gives me an excuse to be lazy.

  5. Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasonal_affective_disorder) is something that many Alaskans have (due to the very l-o-n-g nights) and so is a common discussion point in that region. Since I lived there for three years I must say I understand this post and your feelings. For me, my blahs come from the cold. When I am cold it is really hard for me to do anything. For instance, I love taking walks but rarely do so when it is freezing. It’s just not as appealing when the temperatures drop to the single digits. You know what I mean?

    But, I also sympathize because I struggle with intense depression–winter or not. It can be so hard to do anything! I do hope you find some sun soon. (Have you noticed the days getting longer? That kind of gives me hope.)

    (I have seen your name on quite a few blogs I frequent, so I felt it was time to come and say “Hi.”)

  6. I’ve never felt the winter blues more than I have now – I guess it may be because of all the other things going on in my life plus my pregnancy hormones, so this weather certainly doesn’t help. Grey, dreary, cold = UGH. Sounds like you’re on your way to getting out of you rut – good for you. I think I am too, but maybe it’s because other things in my life are looking up as well. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the both of us…

  7. I was feeling very burnt out in the last months of working. The easy way for me to cope was by reassessing what’s most important in my life (my happiness, my health, my family) and eliminating those things that served as barriers to those my loving those things.

    I wish you the best. Just take one day at a time and be sure to make time for yourself and the things that matter most in your life. You will get through it!

  8. I definitely believe in seasonal affective disorder. The winter months are always a struggle. Hope you’re enjoying the burst of spring happening in so many places right now.

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