These Winter blues Part 2

January 20, 2021

Hey again everybody! I hope this post finds you even better than the last one! I hope you're having a great start to the year and using the last blog post on beating the winter blues to help you through these days. Winter can be hard - dingy, dreary, dismal - and this winter is probably harder than most because we're all so isolated from one another. It's a hard time for sure, so give yourself some grace and throw kindness around like confetti. To those around you AND yourself.

I didn't expect to write another post on the blues - my personality tends to be such that I may find myself down and out but I don't let myself STAY down and out. I give myself a stern talking to, have a quick cry if I need it, square my shoulders and walk it off with physical exercise to the point of exhaustion. Is that healthy? Honestly, I don't know. It's always worked for me; maybe I'm a bit like Teddy Roosevelt (although he did refuse to ever discuss his wife and mother's deaths which occurred in the same house on the same day, even running out West to avoid the topic so. . . . Maybe he's not the picture of mental health?)

But I digress. It's true I didn't intend to write another post on beating the blues but I've been thinking about the times when I've gone through truly difficult times and how I got through them. Besides the stern self-talks/affirmations a la Stuart Smalley (SNL anyone?), short crying jags, pick-myself-up-and-dust-myself-off mentality and physical exercise. But I realize I do other things as well. The list I made in the last post for sure and a few other things.

I keep a journal. Pretty much everyday (I strive for everyday but sometimes just don't get it) I journal. I write multiple things in that journal such as a Bible verse for the day, the things I would like God to teach me, a prayer and then 3-5 things for which I'm grateful. Sometimes that list is full of one word thanksgivings (Coffee! Sleep! Chocolate!) and sometimes they're a lot deeper and/or longer. I'm especially thankful this season for my parents' health.

When you begin writing thanksgivings down it may seem unnatural but I know as you go along it will become as natural as breathing. It truly is a great way to start your day and I try very hard to write in my journal every morning. And you know - I don't have a fancy journal. It's literally a bound notepad. I used to buy those beautiful journals but they never got finished and I felt terrible that I spent the money and didn't finish. But these cheap notebooks seem to do the trick for me. So don't wait to start until your UPS truck comes with your Amazon delivery for the week. Start now with what you have. You won't regret it!

No matter what you're writing style, studies have shown that writing helps significantly in recognizing your own emotions as well as the emotions in others. It also give you greater empathy for those around you. And whoa Nelly do we need more empathy!!!!!

Also every month I try to find something for which to strive. Goals to meet. Sometimes the goals are easy to define (run a 5K) and sometimes they're a little harder (fully obey God and leave all the consequences to Him). Sometimes I have a "word for the month" or even a concept I want to understand better. In January my word has been TRUST. There's so much uncertainty right now all around me and I can either choose to trust or freak completely out. I'm choosing to trust. Whatever I'm striving for I write down. That makes it more real and makes me more motivated.

And as a family we decided about 18 months ago to TURN OFF THE NEWS. We don't watch any national news programs anymore. We don't watch news channels or programs. When we need news we just log onto facebook. (Kidding!!!) There are sources you can use for news that don't have to be 30 or 60 minutes long or given in an overtly slanted point of view. We watch our local news but that's it. And do you know what? It saves us time, energy and a lot of stress. But most of the time, if I'm honest, we can log onto our local stations' websites and find all the information we need for the day.

So that's it for this go 'round. I hope this post gives you additional ideas and encouragement on how to beat the blues! Let me know how you're doing.


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