Dem low-down, soul-suckin’, good for nothin’, can’t get off my backside winter blues
Sing it, Billie.
Yeah, it’s that time again. Those doldrums of February where I just cannot get motivated to do anything. Even with everything I know about what exercise does for me, I’ve had a helluva time peeling myself out of bed in the morning or staying up after the kids go to bed in order to get a short workout in. Even the 5- to 15-minute ones I swear by.
I could give you the laundry list of reasons why it’s been tough, but that’s just whining. Like I tell my kids when I’m nagging at them (rarely, of course), “You don’t want to hear it and I don’t want to say it.”
Fortunately, age brings perspective as well as wrinkles. I’ve battled bouts of depression since I was in 6th grade, and after all of those go-arounds, I have learned a thing or two, which makes this year’s low spot a bit more manageable, both for me and my family. Here are my reflections on the winter blues, in no particular order.
- I always have this slump in February, and I know this. Rather than mindlessly giving into it, I can just watch it go by and take better care of myself in the meantime. I give myself a few small treats that I love rather than doing a face-plant into a pint of ice cream. Or a bag of Oreos. I’ll stop now.
- I’m able to identify the blues pretty quickly now. Instead of sliding into self-loathing, which is oh-so productive, I was able to catch it in a couple of days and distract myself with a book I’d been wanting to finish.
- Once I saw I was slipping, I was able to stop the negative chatter in my head for a minute to ask myself, “What would it look like if I was doing well?” I made a mental list, and worked with that.
By suppertime, I had taken a shower, made supper, had bread baking in the oven, cleared the table, run a couple of loads of laundry, and gotten a few dishes done. I was even able to encourage the kids to make their beds and do their usual vacuuming chores. Much of the house was still a wreck, but there was progress. And that was waaay better than looking at the mess and feeling like a failure.
This one question works wonders for me. There’s no blame, no “shoulds,” no grinding perfectionism. There’s just imagination for what I could do to lift a tiny bit of the weight of helplessness off my shoulders.
- Getting out with other people also makes a huge difference, but there’s a catch for me, at least. If I sit around with a friend and blather about the same issues I’ve been running in my head, I end up feeling more depleted. If I get out and move or do something that gets me out of my head, like playing hockey, watching a funny movie or trying a new, easy recipe, then I feel better. It’s like I had a mini-vacation from the blahs, and that reminds me that they’re only temporary.
Hmmm . . . maybe I could manage a short spin on my bike trainer now.
Any other great antidotes for the winter blues? I’d love to hear ’em!