Another New England winter. I have spent the entirety of my 31 years braving winters in this part of the country, proudly wearing the badge with honor. I have watched the sky grow darker earlier devouring the evening hours and added downy layers to my bed like one builds a cake.
My disposition lends me to being glass half full type of person but half way through a New England winter (especially in Providence) the ghosting begins. Slowly after the holidays people tuck themselves away, the streets are devoid of life and even the heavy snow clouds look lonely.At first I kick and scream against the bleakness but deep into winter there are some days where my mind can't see reason. During these months I find myself lost in an exorbitant amount of PBS shows, working away at jewelry projects with the curtains drawn to preserve the precious amount of heat slipping out between the cracks of our antique windows .All of a sudden I realize that I haven't seen the sun in weeks and days seem to bleed together.That's when I realize I need a reset . While it may not be possible to "snap out of it" all in one go, there are some small steps that may prove useful in order to escape the winter doldrums.
Read . Give your mind an escape from the reality in which you live.Whether it be snuggled in by myself or even choosing a bed time story from childhood to share with my partner, reading gives me a break from my own anxieties and fears. If you don't have anything handy or can't get to a library, the Kindle App is free and additionally many classics can be downloaded for free on Amazon ( this was a lifesaver for me when we went abroad and I was feeling homesick and needed an escape). Many magazines also offer online articles and I highly recommend checking out Collective Quarterly's online archive. Not everything I read is uplifting but some suggestions on the more positive spectrum : |The Grass Harp by Capote, The Little Prince St.Euxpery ( which may seem like a children's book but it is also very much for the adult imagination), Collective Quarterly |
Host a potluck. Don't feel like making all the food yourself? Not sure you remember how to talk to people? Its the perfect way to share the burden and also socialize (plus you might get to try something you've never had before). As a vegetarian I have a slight bias but I have had a lot of success with recipes from Pinterest | Detox Salad- Crostini with Mint, Lemon and Peas and Tumeric Carrot Apple Soup |
Not feeling like a potluck how about Pancakes for dinner? Pancakes were an every Sunday event in my household growing up and I had forgotten how delightful they can be. Some of the most delicious : |Trader Joe's gluten free pancake and waffle mix - Krusteaz blueberry /classic buttermilk pancakes (tasty and perfect for camping because they only need water) and as a vegan option | As for toppings try some Agave Maple Syrup, home made lavender whipped cream or some Bonne Maman raspberry preserves
Burn Floral Candles. Lavender, Hydrangea, Lilac, Eucalyptus. Turning my home into a sanctuary of floral smells tends to remind me that eventually the sun will return and things will grow again. I tend to favor the more natural scents : | Aster Candle "In Bloom" - Species by the Thousands "Wild Fig"|
Take your supplements. Natural remedies can't always fix the most intense blues but they can help. I take Vitamin B to increase energy , 5 HTP to promote general wellness and calm and some Kava Kava tea at night can help to relax the mind . I obviously wouldn't take them all at the same time and would carefully follow the instructions on each label for warnings and proper dosing. For any questions about interference with current medication or birth control I would also recommend talking to a doctor*. |Nature's Bounty liquidVitamin B for quicker absorption -Natrol brand 5 HTP 50 mg capsules -Irie Tea Kava Kool Out |
Listen to a Podcast. I have taken to listening to podcasts on my walk home not only to feed my mind but to keep me company. My favorite one of late sounds bleak but the "Hilarious World of Depression" has comedians talking openly about the subject and sheds some light on how other people have learned to cope. "Dirt Bag Diaries" is one that rekindles my sense of adventure and reminds me that anything is possible if you set your mind to it. "99% Invisible" discusses design but in such an energetic and emotional way I find it gets the gears turning again. Other recommendations which can be found through the Apple Podcast App:|The Kitchen Sisters - Death, Sex and Money - The Moth |
Go out for a Bite. I love cooking but sometimes I look in my fridge and realize I have about four things and none of them even make sense. Living a creative lifestyle often means a tight budget but that being said sometimes you need to spend a little to find inspiration. Going out to a new restaurant, trying a few dishes from anappetizer menu or stopping in for one beer at a new brewery won't break the bank and also gets you out amongst the living .Some of my favorites : | Loie Fuller's ( $5 Mussel Monday ) - The Slow Rhode (tapas style food with a range of $5-9 apps) - La Lupita (burritos start at $5 ) - Long Live Brewery (has $2 4 oz beers) |
Wear white. I throw the rule book out the window when it comes to winter fashion one because I hate being told what to wear and two who wouldn't feel dour wearing dark colors all the time. White reminds me that there is light in the world and also (that while faded to ghostly hues ) my cheeks still have some rosiness in them. In the Kundalini practice it is believed that wearing white expands your auric radium by one foot and having a strengthened your aura gives you a strengthened identity. Some vision in white inspiration.
Buy More Plants: Just having something living and potentially blooming around you can help.There have been some winters where I spent almost every weekenddriving to a local greenhouse to pick up a new addition to our household collection. Hanging a geranium in a window or putting a money tree in the corner your living room can turn your stagnate space into a living jungle. Current Favorite : |Brigg's Nursery North Attleboro, MA |
Seize the weekend! I know not everyone has the luxury of a two day weekend but for those of you who do it can be an incredible amount of a lot of time. Drive somewhere local and stay over ( Portland Maine for example is just under 3 hours away and many hotels / Airbnbs feature winter rates). Go to the ocean or take a hike ( the Audubon Society has a wealth of great hikes and maps). Go to a Museum (many of which AAA, a student ID or bank affiliation can get you in for a discounted rate) |Wadsworth Atheneum Hartford, CT - Harvard - PEM Salem MA - Museum of Natural History Boston, MA - Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History New Haven, CT - Worcester Art Museum Worcester, MA- RISD Museum Providence, RI (free every Sunday 10-5 )|.
These solutions certainly are not for everyone but I find that by challenging myself to reach out or by forcing myself to do at least one thing differently every day, winter life becomes a little less monotonous. Choosing to that walk around the block just to breath fresh air, stopping into coffee shop or talking to a new person can change the course of what would be a normal day.Small accomplishments can be the fuel for your fire.
*As fore mentioned in the supplements section there are many of life's circumstances that can not simply be overlooked or solved with a mere vitamin. If you are struggling with serious depression or are feeling overwhelmed there are trained people and tools available .| Psychology Today's guide for local therapist - Anxiety and Depression Association of America - Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255 |