Monday, February 16, 2015

The Dregs of Winter

This is supposed to be a post brimming with great ideas about how to get through the final weeks of winter without spiraling down into a deep depression. You know the post it should be - perky and encouraging, with a long list of things that Really Cure Winter Blahs. However, what this will mostly be is me bitching about the dull, cold, dreary days we must endure until spring begins to make itself known.

During the final weeks of winter, it feels like spring will never happen, but it will, it always does. I trust that even though it's hard to believe with snow falling and temps in the 20s F. In the meantime, while we wait for spring, what doesn't kill us makes us stronger? Builds character? I hate building character! I have plenty of that.

See? I'm whining.

People buy lights with a certain spectrum of light. Some report that it helps with SAD, (which is, in my opinion, not a disorder - it's a sign of being a normal, soulful mammal who longs for a little warmth and color after several months of drear). I know a lot of people for whom these lights have no noticeable benefits.

Some self medicate, and I'm not against it. The problem - I'm talking about liquor here - is that a little bit of self medication is great, but too much just makes you feel worse. It's tricky, during the dregs of winter, to discern the right dosage. It's so easy to go overboard when the wind is howling and the wind chills are in the single or minus digits.

Swallowing Vitamin D sounds like a good idea, but processed vitamins are hard to absorb and put stress on the liver and kidneys. I try to get out on every sunny day and let the sunlight fall on my face and any other body part I'm willing to expose. It depends on how cold it is. Even ten minutes of sunlight produces Vitamin D. The impact is noticeable. It doesn't solve the problem but it helps.

I have a friend who gets in a tanning booth for 5 or 10 minutes, a couple of times during the grayest days of winter. She's not looking for a tan. She swears she walks out of the booth feeling more cheerful, more hopeful. Five or 10 minutes once or twice during winter won't kill you. I think it's an inspired idea that would never have occurred to me since I'm violently opposed to tanning booths.

I drink teas that are metaphors for Brother Sun. Currently my favorite version is Rishi Ginger-Turmeric tea with honey and a few grains of cinnamon. I believe it cheers me up, reminds me of the splendid season that will surely come again ... some day! I cook warm, cheerful dinners, such as Mark Bittner's roast chicken with orange juice, honey and cumin. I burn candles by the dozen because they bring a contented, magical, cozy feeling into a room. I sit in the Botanic Conservatory breathing the soft air and taking in all the green.

No way will I watch a dark movie at this time of year. Actually I don't watch anything upsetting these days, but especially not at the end of February. I watch nice, bright, inspiring movies. I stick with music that encourages me. I look only at art that makes me smile.

I try, I really do.

If there existed a measurably effective remedy for the doldrums of winter, it would be out there and we would know about it. Sadly, there is no such thing. Still, we have to try. At least I do. Hence: tea, red wine, roast chicken, sweet jazz music. The time will pass and spring will arrive. I believe it even though it's hard to imagine.

I look forward to it.