Webster’s Dictionary defines hibernation as “to pass the winter in a torpid or resting state, to be or become inactive or dormant more hours of the day, and to become inactive or dormant due to feeling SAD.”
So why do we resist this natural rhythm of the seasons and life? What if we indulged our inclination to slow down in winter instead? We often behave as if seasonal changes are irrelevant to a modern lifestyle. After all, in many ways, civilization is all about overcoming nature, but our bodies tell a different story. In the olden days in winter we’d hunker down around a fire, repairing tools and telling tales that wove our culture. We would have supplies banked up and our bodies close and sleep longer.
Now we act as if it’s always summer, demanding consistently high productivity at work and at home. But our bodies require cycles of activity and rest—daily, annually. When days are long, our metabolisms and energy levels amp up. In winter, we produce hormones that make us sleepy, giving us time to restore body, mind and soul.
And there’s nothing wrong with that cycle—except that we work against it, forcing ourselves to operate at summer levels even in winter. No wonder so many people feel depressed(SAD) at this time of year!
Most of us have heard of SAD Seasonal Affective Disorder. It happens the most for people during the winter months when days are shorter and nights are longer. SAD is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same time every year. If you're like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody, irritable, tired and stressed.
Here are some Self-Care suggestions if you’re tired, SAD and hungry?
1. Eat smarter NOT more – we tend to eat to change our mode or relieve anxiety. Eat whole seasonal foods and stop snacking on candy and carbohydrates they only make your blood sugar plummet but leave you feeling more depressed. Make sure to eat seasonally, don’t be eating watermelon in January you should be eating citrus fruits.
2. Don’t overschedule your activities – make plans but also pencil in a lot more down time to recover from all the extra energy you will extend in the winter. Rest if you’re tired that’s the key.
3. Plan what you want to do on your summer vacation, or travel to warmer climates while it’s winter in your state.
4. Turn the music up and listen to fun, light music that makes you feel good.
5. Exercise – even though it’s really, really cold a good brisk walk is always refreshing and gets the heart, legs and body pumping. It’s one of the best reducers of symptoms of SAD.
6. Start a New Hobby – have you always thought you’d like to knit, take up art, do curling, and learn to ice skate? Pick something and give it a try maybe something will stick.
7. Stay connected don’t isolate – we all at one time or another tend to isolate ourselves. Reach out and call your friends, or set up lunch dates or a movie date to be with others and feel connected. There’s nothing like being with others instead of overthinking and being stuck in your head.
I love this example of how someone adjusted to the seasons for herself.
“I once met an artist who had mastered this. Perusing her work, I asked how she stayed creative as a painter, writer, weaver and sculptor. Her answer:
She changes media each season. In summer she’s out on her deck chiseling a sculpture. In fall, she is reflective and poetic. In winter, she works with warm fiber at her loom. And as spring beckons her outdoors, she sets up her easel in the meadow. Should our lives be any less a work of seasonal art?”
STAY WARM MY FRIENDS