Do you feel that? The darkness starting to sink into your soul? Okay, maybe it’s not that dramatic. But it is mid-October and by now I think we are all starting to feel a little bit of that darkness creeping in on us. The other day I woke up at 7:30am, I swore it was 5:30am because there was no light. And we’re not even to the worst part of it yet – the evil known as Daylight Savings Time doesn’t end until November 2! Ugh.
So, if you are a bit of a sun worshipper like me, what are we supposed to do during these dark months? How are we supposed to pull ourselves out of bed in the morning? Well, I’ve learned a few tricks from growing upwest of the Cascades in the Pacific NW (where there is every shade of a gray day ever imagined). I’ve pretty much been combatting SAD my entire life. Here are my top tricks:
TRICK #1: GO OUTSIDE EVERY DAY
No excuses. A five-minute walk outside will do wonders. Even better if you can do more. But AT LEAST do 5 minutes. Even if it’s the WORST DAY EVER.
TRICK #2: MAKE COFFEE A SUPPLEMENT TO YOUR DIET
Before you head out on that walk brew yourself some coffee so it’s nice and hot when you get back. Or walk to the coffee shop (this works for me when I don’t want to exercise, I tell myself that I can have a treat if I walk/run to the cafe that’s a mile away).
TRICK #3: MIGRATE OR TRAVEL
When I first arrived in Brooklyn all of my friends said I wouldn’t be able to handle the winter, they know I can barely handle a Seattle winter. But do you know which key ingredient NY winters have that Seattle winters are missing? SUN. Even when it’s 15F, there’s still bright sun-filled days. I actually need sunglasses during the Winter. It’s never cloudy for more than a few days in a row. In Seattle it seems like it can be months without sun. Did you know Seattle only averages 58 sunny days a year? Even though I’m often homesick in Spring and Summer I do not miss November-March in Seattle. (That’s one reason I’m working on being bi-coastal.)
But seriously, I know not everyone can just pick up and move. Before I decided to split my time between coasts I would plan a vacation for Mid-end of January. This is usually my tipping point, when I start to feel like I can’t get out of bed. The magic of Fall’s transformation is gone. All the sparkle of the holidays are gone. It can be so… blah. A warm and sunny destination can do wonders. Or even if you can’t go far, a change in scenery can work too.
TRICK #4: PICK A PROJECT or LEARN SOMETHING NEW
This is the big one. I come up with a project list. Nothing serious or super stressful. And nothing with a tight deadline. Only fun and creative things. Maybe some things that I’m scared to do, just to push me out of my comfort zone.
Some samples from the past include: learning to play and sing a Mexican Ranchera song on the guitar (no I don’t play regularly, so this was extra hard), Turkish language classes, develop new choreographies, take a yoga class challenge, experiment with new recipes, make a new costume. You get the idea. I’ve learned that I tend to stick with the projects that require the least amount of decision making – like going to a class, or learning to play a song, or reading a book.
I call this my Persephone phase. I feel like I’m underground, developing myself as I work on projects. And when the light finally comes back I’m ready to bust out of the cocoon.
Here’s my Persephone project list for 2014-2015:
• take a surf lesson – http://www.surflessonsnewyork101.com
• dance – http://www.cumbedance.com
• 21-day drawing challenge – http://www.lynda.com
• handwriting – http://www.skillshare.com
• inking – http://www.skillshare.com
• learn to play this song on the piano – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HN5mwcrYbLA
• print making – http://www.gowanusprintlab.com
• create a guide with tips for small business owners/marketers on how to work with a designer
• create a stuffed Krampus pattern
• illustrate more patterns
• retouch more photos