excerpt from the book: Living Well, a series of holistic articles by Surina Ann Jordan
Many of us have already made a date with seasonal depression. “It happens every year,” you might say. Think for a minute on the power of words and the fact that you could say, “Last year I was not ready for winter and it really got me down. This year I am going to prepare myself and not put life on hold just because it is winter!” Wow! How powerful that feels! Here are some additional liberating thoughts and ideas to help you in your new way of jumping into winter.
· First of all, go to meet winter. Don’t let it just happen. See it coming. Plan for it. Embrace it like an evergreen extracting all the freshness and energy of the new season. Don’t resist something that is so natural. Flow right into it.
· Understand the purpose of winter and how important it is to your overall health and longevity. It is the time to rest and recharge as much as possible. Go to sleep earlier. In winter your body expects more sleep, which corresponds with nature’s longer nights.
· Keep in mind that no season lasts forever. So set goals for spring. Out of that goal setting will come many indoor projects leading up to your spring accomplishments. These projects could include research (Internet and library), phone calls, inquiries, and planning.
· Keep your body loose and fit. Stretch and do some type of exercise that is good for you every day. Open a window and take deep breaths to clear your lungs. The lungs and the large intestine impact health during this season, so keep them clear and mucus free.
· Schedule indoor activities, projects, and free time. Experiment with recipes to make them healthier, and write letters (or emails) to catch up with friends and family. Go to the craft shop and pick up that old hobby or start a new one. For example, get out those wonderful vacation or special occasion photographs and scrapbook them. This does several things: it becomes a keepsake or heirloom, but it also gives you wonderful thoughts as you relive what you did and look forward to more good times.
· Buy fresh cut flowers weekly. Place them in a prominent place in the house. Make sure to discard them as soon as they start to wilt.
· Stop criticizing yourself and others. Add the words, “It’s going to be all right” as your everyday affirmation. Find one thing to laugh about every day. Laughter is therapeutic and a great massage for the internal organs.
· Don’t watch TV before bed or at meals, which is a primary source for reinforcing negative thinking. Buy a few easy listening CDs and get some of that reading done. Schedule TV time—don’t let it just trespass over your entire space and time. That gives TV too much power.
· Eat less meat and more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts. Nature is at rest and living inward. Our bodies respond well to those root foods because of their medicinal properties for building a healthy immune system. They include garlic, onions, beets, ginger, and burdock. Additionally, eat those foods that are in season, including citrus, apples, grapes, pears, walnuts, sunflower seeds, squash, brown rice, corn, and wheat. Our bodies also respond well to the following spices: turmeric (which is also in curry), fennel, cumin, peppers, sage, nutmeg, and parsley. Limit sweets, cheese, bread, milk, and fried foods, which all promote congestion (mucus) in our bodies.
· Drink plenty of room temperature water. Dehydration is very common during the winter months. Water is an essential nutrient for the brain and it promotes positive thinking. Also experiment with the wonderful variety of herbal teas. Use honey, lemon, or maple syrup as sweeteners.
· Limit alcohol, which can lead to dehydration. Alcohol weakens body and brain function. Alcohol also makes us more vulnerable to depression.
· When you do go out, take the winter challenge. How many layers of clothing will you need in order to stay warm? Keep your chest, neck, head, and feet warm. If winter wins that day, try again tomorrow. Wear a brightly colored item (scarf, hat, or gloves), which is a great pick-me-up for you and others.
· Plan at least one get-together where you invite some special positive people over so they can bring positive energy into your home.
Notice that these things do not require a lot of money. Meaningful things don’t have to break the budget.
If you can implement these suggestions, you can cancel that standing date with seasonal depression. Instead you will have embraced winter like an evergreen . . . Winter never felt so good!
1. Teehee.com. Laugh therapy.
2. Balch, Phyllis A. and James Balch. Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 3rd ed. New York: Avery, 2000.