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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

30 Ways to Think Outside the SAD Box this Winter | Part Two

Guess what you guys?

The sun was shining gloriously yesterday! 

So I followed some of my own advice from part one's post and spent about an hour and a half outside in the afternoon! I walked down to into the village center to work on my upcoming participation in the "Home Sweet Home" blog circle this month. (Lots of pretty pictures of Otterberg's church coming your way) And then I hoofed it up the hill to pick up the girls at kindergarten, and we took the long way home so they could make plenty of stops to play and jump and twirl and soak up the sun, too.

I can tell my mood is a thousand times improved. I was so cranky a few days ago. I think we were going on day ten or so of no sunshine.

So I made the most of it. We even got out of the house for a family date night!

When I first started talking to Kirsten (hi, K!) about my issues with seasonal depression, she said she could relate. And also that Dana really struggled with it, too. She called us "solar-powered people" and I just love that description.

SO for those of us who are more solar-powered than others, here are the next ten tips in the series! 

11. Watch some home videos of your kids when they were little and did cute things. Or look at photos of yourself as a child. Remember the innocence and sweetness of childhood. Smile as you think about "the good old days."

12. Turn off every single electronic device that calls relentlessly for your attention and read a novel for an hour. This is obviously not going to improve your mood if you aren't a book worm like me, but if you are, it's really important to take time to read. I can always tell when I've gone too long without giving myself a reading break... I start jonesing for a second to just sit down and focus on one thing. And the chance to escape to a different world for a little while. If you're looking for something new,  here's the Washington Post's top ten list from 2014 (and they have more links and suggestions, too) and here's Huffington Post's list of 30 classics you should read before you're 30. Which I'm definitely gonna have to get cracking on if I want to cross them all off in the next two years ;-)

13. Get out of your house and spend actual real life time with humans. The absolute worst winter I remember here was when we were down to one car and I used that as an excuse to stay stranded at home a lot. I was too lazy to work around J's schedule so that I could have the car, and too lame to regularly invite people over to my house. SO I ended up being home alone a lot with two little girls and a whole lot of pent up seasonal depression issues. Do yourself a favor and connect with people, face to face, on a regular basis through the winter. Facebook is great but it doesn't count.

14. Make sure you have something awesome to be a part of. It really helps to be a part of something that energizes you. I have seen a huge difference in my outlook this winter with my involvement with Grace Studio. I look forward to my classes because they get me out of the house and interacting face to face with people (see #13) and they challenge me body, mind, and spirit. I love my German language classes because learning a language is one of the few things these days that make me feel like I'm really truly using my brain! And I love using my muscles at the Wednesday 90 minute yoga class, plus sweating my a$$ off at Bri's FemFusion class on Friday! It's even amazing to see how excited the girls are for ballet every Thursday. Sure, it makes us busy. But it makes me feel alive and energized, too!

15. Have a family nerf gun fight! (or an adults-only strip nerf battle!) We always end up with lots of laughter, a boost of energy, and a little healthy family competition... all things that equal a lifting of everyone's spirits, plus some good memories. I even get an added smiley-boost from the fact that it usually takes about a week to find all the lost bullets. Every time I find one, I remember our fun little family moment!

16. Paint your nails a ridiculously bright color. Muted colors might be "in" in the winter, but what you might really need to see every time you look at your fingers is highlighter pink or sunshine yellow. Just saying ;-)

17. Make a print of a photo that you think is beautiful (even from your phone!) to frame and hang where you'll see it often. There's a lot of power in the visual reminder of beauty, especially in dreary winter months. If you need to find some fine art prints, look no further than Jesse's Girl Photography {shameless plug} specifically, the sunflower album! I read once that just looking at large images that contained a lot of green and yellow improved test subject's mood.

18. Sit by a fire. We were so thankful to find a house with lots of windows in the main living room and also a big beautiful fireplace. I know I'm not the only one who finds fires therapeutic. It's like sunshine right in front of my face! Plus it warms my toes! If you have an option when you move here, hunt for a house with a fireplace. If not, find a friend who has one and invite yourself over for tea and good conversation regularly!

19. Set your timer for 20 minutes and race yourself to work on something you've been procrastinating on. Just DO SOMETHING! Endless procrastination makes everyone feel so yucky, but lack of motivation is unfortunately another issue we deal with in the winter! So attacking my kitchen mess with violent abandon really lifts my spirits. Rushing around the house to pick things up gets the blood flowing in my veins and makes me happy once I can see my living room floor again. (Now, cleaning isn't the only thing you can do, but that's just one of my methods for a) getting my butt out of my computer chair periodically and b) actually getting some housework done) I really like using those 20 minutes to crush a lame task, then I can get back to my coffee and reading on the couch by the fire!

20. Splurge on an obnoxiously expensive, amazing smelling candle. I'm looking at you, Yankee. It's just nice to have the cozy scent of your favorite candle in your home. Winter is the only time I really burn candles so I consider it a special treat and worth the splurge!

Tune in tomorrow for the last ten tips for battling seasonal depression! 

Thank you so much for all the comments and sharing! I love hearing that I'm not the only one who goes through this. It's especially comforting to be able to relate to folks from all around the world! Please keep letting me know what you think... I'm learning from you, too!


  1. there are some really great ideas here. thanks Jess

    1. You are so welcome! I'm glad they are helpful!

  2. hmm, do you do essential oils at all? I have had my diffuser going nonstop since about November, with different oils every day depending on our mood or health level. I think it really helps, if only because the house doesn't smell like stale dog/boy/construction dust when we walk in.

    1. I dot use EO's and I would LOVE your thoughts on them. (Insert blog post request!) I would love to know what you use for what moods. Do you use a fancy pants brand like DoTerra or a more generic version since you're using it for aromatherapy? Curious!