I have now learned the hard way that the winter blues are no joke. I took these photos at Discovery Park in Seattle on a lovely Sunday that started out with me having zero motivation to do anything. It was the first nice(ish) day in a while, and I didn't feel like spending it outdoors with my beautiful family. After discussing with Isaiah what was going on, and finally admitting to myself what I was feeling, he gently convinced me to get dressed and leave the house.
The most difficult thing to overcome, I think, was the denial I had about the way I was feeling. I don't ever recall feeling this down during winters in New York and Switzerland, and I certainly never felt it in San Diego, so I thought I was sort of immune to the whole thing. I knew going into our move to the PNW at the beginning of November that it was a crappy time of year to move. Dear friends told me about happy lamps, and I promised myself I'd buy one if I needed it.
Somehow I had made it through five months of being at home with two small children, far far far away from my beloved mom and sister, with few friends, no job, and day after day of grey skies. Then early last month, it hit me all of a sudden. For weeks I already had an extremely difficult time getting out of bed in the morning, but now I didn't want to do anything, even if it was nice out. I didn't want to get dressed, let alone leave the house. And the tip of the iceberg: I cried genuine tears to Isaiah more than once about how sad I was. Luckily, I already had a trip to San Diego planned, but it was a couple of weeks away.
Just thinking about our upcoming trip and starting my new job (I started a couple of weeks ago!) helped get me through those two weeks leading up to our trip. Also, talking about it with the people I love has helped me a ton. PLUS, we were blessed with 14 days of moderate temperatures, blue skies, and glorious sunshine in San Diego. It was exactly what I needed.
Now that I know I am definitely not immune to seasonal depression, I want to have an action plan to help prevent it before it even starts! For me, the main thing has been having a job outside the home. I am only a couple of weeks in, but having a place I need to be at a certain time really motivates me in the morning. Between meal prep, spending time with Isaiah, and having all our things in order the night before, I go to bed later than I should so I am exhausted when I wake up, but it actually feels good to wake up!
Here is what I have done and what I want to implement in the future:
1. Take a trip to a sunny destination. In Switzerland when the gloomy weather started to get us down, we would plan a weekend trip south in search of the sun. Now in Seattle, I am thinking mid-winter is definitely the best time to go back home to San Diego for a visit.
2. Exercise regularly. I am not really sure where I am going to find the time to do this, but I am thinking of joining the YMCA, especially for the included 2 hours of child care!!!
3. Create a calendar of seasonal activities. This one I got from my dear friend, Heather. When she lived in Ohio, she had a list of fun activities she'd do ONLY in one particular season. It meant that she always had something she enjoyed going on as well as something to look foward to.
I am going to expand #3 into separate posts for each season. I will start with spring, and need some ideas, please! One thing I did with Hunter this year was collect cherry blossoms and press them. Since they come and go so quickly, I wanted to preserve their beauty by pressing them. Then, we turned the blossoms into artwork. It turned out so pretty that I want to do it every year!