Talk about the weather and watch your follow count tick down as people who probably live in nice mild climates grow tired of your boring winter woes. But thanks to the Polar Vortex (Of Hell) even sweaty south Floridians can be seen crying on social media about relatively balmy temperatures in the 50’s. Whatever your weather tolerance, the first three months of the year are often difficult ones for many people. Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is said to affect six percent of the US population and another 14 percent suffer with the lesser form called Winter Blues. Even if you’re not feeling blue, you might be craving starchy, sweet food or need a bit of extra sleep this time of year. Obviously eating and sleeping is not the way to happiness or meeting your New Year’s Resolutions!
Having lived and worked in Minnesota for most of my life, I’ve developed a few strategies for coping with limited daylight and frigid temps—and they don’t include forcing you to enjoy hockey or winter jogging—but they do include coffee! So pour yourself a cup of brown and read on!
VITAMIN D—THE WAY OUT OF THE POLAR VORTEX
A few years ago my doctor told me that most people in North America are vitamin D deficient and therefore he was testing everyone. To my surprise I was extremely vitamin D deficient but even with this information I was often not great at remembering to take supplements—until last year. Last year I started to get serious about taking vitamin D and I can honestly say it has made a HUGE difference in the way I feel. I swear it’s like Prozac without the side effects!
My favorite raw vegan vitamin D supplement (not sponsored).
Always check with your doc to make sure supplements are safe for you!
DO THE UGLY STUFF NOW
Setting goals and organizing your annual to-do lists will keep you from falling into the mental vortex that crappy weather sometimes brings. The key is to keep moving when you feel like drinking mochas and surfing Facebook. This is a great time to get to work on things that you don’t want to be stuck doing when the weather improves. On my list are things like sorting through tax receipts and deep cleaning. I also use this time to organize my wardrobe and pull together a Goodwill donation—which makes room in my closet for essential winter clothing pieces that may need replacing. Bonus: They are all on sale!
HAVE SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO
I’m all for living in the present, but sometimes it’s just nice to have a diversion! Whether it’s a vacation, someone’s wedding, or the new season of The Bachelor (sorry—guilty pleasure—why oh why?!) it’s good to have something to look forward to. It doesn’t have to be a big milestone—I’m personally excited for the Winter Olympics and my Twitter friend Paris Primeau being on American Idol! Watching super fit people at their best inspires my workouts—and yes, you should be working out. Exercise has proved to be just as effective as anti-depressants in elevating mood.
I had to get small dogs to pee in this!
If I didn’t try to get out, I could probably stock up on food and never leave the house for six months. I don’t really like parking and stumbling over snowbanks. I don’t enjoy carrying my coat around when I go somewhere. And I don’t consider the mall a destination. I am thinking about buying snowshoes, but you know—I hate winter, so there is that. That said—going out and doing things you might not normally do makes life more fun. And winter goes faster with friends! I have a goal this year to attend more networking gatherings and get out for coffee with friends and fellow creative types. Hearing about other’s creative projects is inspiring and helps me keep up my own momentum. I also try to get out for music shows as much as possible—I mean, the poor bastards booked a show in Minneapolis in January! It’s the least I can do.
LEARN SOMETHING NEW
I love learning and I have a long list of things I’d like to try or become proficient at. One of those things is the ukulele! I futz around with mine, but I’m trying to get a little better—you know—in case Foo Fighters need a ukulele player. I’ve also got a long list of work-related skills I’d like to improve and I’ve been studying up to push myself for the next leg of my professional journey. I find that keeping my brain engaged is really important for keeping a positive outlook and I hardly notice the weather when I’m working on a creative project!
Headgear required! Lipstick optional!