Thursday, January 18, 2018

Blog All About It - Five Ways to Beat the Winter Funk

I guess this happens to all bloggers at some point, you kind of run out of things to say or go through spells where you simply lack inspiration.   Although I've not been blogging that long, I've felt this way as of late.  

Earlier this month, I accidentally stumbled upon this blogging prompt challenge hosted by Herding Cats & Burning Soup and decided to give it a go.  Hopefully it will inspire me to write more, something I've discovered is very cathartic for me, and hopefully it will also inject some new energy into my blog.  The premise is simple - a monthly prompt is given, the prompt may be interpreted however the writer chooses, and the blogger blogs about it.  Voila!

The first prompt in the Blog All About It Challenge is WINTER.  So, here we go...

Winter.  My least favorite of all the seasons.  It rolls in a few days before Christmas when everything is decorated and bright, when peace and good cheer are abundant and it's drab, dreary, bleakness is temporarily disguised.  But, once all the presents are opened, the tree is taken down, and Auld Lang Syne has been sung, winter shows its true nature.  For me, the winter funk sets up camp in the first few weeks of January and stays with me like a houseguest who has overstayed his/her welcome until early March.

I've been dealing with this funk, which is officially known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, for about four years now; it started right around the time I turned the big 4-0.  That first winter was tough, for I didn't realize what was going on until I mentioned my symptoms to my mom and she said  that it sounded like I had SAD.  As it turned out, she was right.

Fortunately, there are many things that can help lessen the severity of Seasonal Affective Disorder and here are the five that has worked the best for me.

1) Get More Natural Light  
Unfortunately, I work in a windowless room where I am starved from natural light most of the day.  It's been this way my entire career (18 years).  With the shortened winter days and me spending most of the day inside, I have to maximize my exposure to natural light as much as possible.  So, when I'm home I open up my blinds to let in the natural light.  When I'm in my car, I open my sunroof shade.  And, despite the cold, I try to walk outside as much as possible.

2) Get More Vitamin D
I'm not a milk drinker so I don't get a lot of Vitamin D from my foods.  I starting taking 5000mg of Vitamin D daily after my mom suggested it.  I'll be perfectly honest, I was skeptical and had some major doubts, but I truly do believe that it's helped.  I could tell a difference the first winter and that was before I had incorporated increasing my exposure to nature light and exercising regularly.  It's amazing what a little supplement can do.

3) Schedule a weekend trip
One of the worst things about winter, in my opinion, is that there is rarely anything to look forward to except spring, which, let's face it, seems like a long ways off on days when the temperature struggles to get above freezing.  I find winter particularly boring because I'm cooped up more inside and there seems like there is less to do.  A weekend getaway, even if it's just for one night, gives me something to anticipate and it breaks up the monotony of everyday, winter life.

4) Exercise
Trust me, I know how hard it is to maintain an exercise regime in the winter, but the widely documented benefits,  both physical and mental, are worth it.  Even though it seemed particularly crazy, this past weekend I bundled up and went for a 3 mile, snow and ice covered walk in 21 degree weather.  Not only did I feel better once I finished, but I also felt like I accomplished something which is great for the mind.

5) Declutter Your House
In winter, most people spend more time indoors and I am no except.  Clutter has a sneaky way of weighing you down and if you're spending more time inside surrounded by clutter, it can make the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder worse.  I started saying, "To hell with spring cleaning - I'm winter cleaning!" three or four years ago and I believe there's something very therapeutic and uplifting that comes from the act of decluttering, even if it just in smaller spurts.

Now, I am no expert in Seasonal Affective Disorder, but as a sufferer, these are these things that have worked for me.  If you suffer from SAD, what are some things that help you beat the winter blues?  

This post will also serve as the main "hub" for all the prompts that I blog about.  Once I have published a post, I will link it back to the corresponding monthly prompt here.

May - Organize
June - Growl 
July - Spirit
August - Beginning
September - Escape
October - Trees
November - Truth
December - Shine Sparkle


  1. Sounds like you've found good ways of dealing with SAD. I think those of us living in the northern hemisphere in places it gets cold find January a particularly hard month. I might try out vitamin D.

    1. It couldn't hurt. I take a mega-dose (5000 IU). I hope it helps.

  2. These are great! Once I started taking Vitamin D things really started picking up for me. I struggled so hard.

  3. Winter is my least favorite season, as well! I'm from Michigan but now live in a tropical climate and I don't miss the bone-chilling cold one bit!

  4. I grew up in the midwest and now I miss the snow since it doesn't snow where I live.

  5. I actually experience this in summer so I'm the opposite, but I've got similar supports in place. For me the exercise, things to anticipate, and decluttering are the big ones. In winter, I get right out there and shovel walks, the drive, go for tramps through the woods and bustle about industriously, but I'm a slug in summer.

    Cheering you on as you beat your winter blues. :)

  6. Since I live in FL, winter is one of my favorite times of year to get outside and it's summer that leaves me in a funk.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

  7. Some great tips and I'm glad they are working for you. I agree, I find Winter Cleaning much more productive than Spring cleaning. When Spring hits I want to be outside with the pups.

  8. I do a 'Winter Clean' too! I always find that after Christmas the house feels too messy and I start to gut the place. You're right, it's really therapeutic!

  9. For some reason I struggled with this prompt (go figure...the first one). :) But I like a good winter clean especially after a nasty, salty few days.

    1. I think some prompts are unexpectedly hard just based on whatever's going on in your life right now. I've been thinking about "red" and I haven't a clue as to what I'm actually doing to write about. It should be easy given it's one of my preferred colors.

  10. That is some interesting stuff. I heard recently that doctors are saying everyone in the northern part of America is lacking Vitamin D. The sun isn't hitting us enough or something, I don't know.

    1. It wouldn't surprise me given the amount of time we spend indoors and when outside, we wear a lot of sunscreen.

  11. It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized my dad suffered from SAD. It made the winter season a difficult one for much of my growing up years. I wish I had known then what I know now. All of your tips are spot on, Ericka. There are times when I start feeling weighted down by everything and all of these things help me feel "normal" again. So, I think they are all good advice in general. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you! It took me a few winters to fully figure out that what I was experiencing was SAD. Mine didn't start until I was in my later 30s. I think more people suffer from it, but they just don't know what "it" is.

  12. I'm that way about Summer. I just can't deal with it. I do love winter, though. Maybe because I'm in the South and ours aren't too bad snow-wise. We get a bit here and there but it's gone within a couple days so it's fun then gone. lol I do like to declutter in the winter, though. It's so nice to get rid of things and feel like you're starting fresh :D

    Thanks for joining in on the challenge and sharing some tips!


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