So far, December in the bluegrass has been mostly warm and sunny. Soon, however, the clouds and cold will move in. Seasonal depression is not uncommon at this time of year. Many people experience mild winter blues, while others feel like they can hardly get out of bed.
This year, we invite you to get one step ahead of the winter blues. Here are some tips and tricks:
1. Get out in nature! Even if you don't want to, and even if it feels too cold, we encourage you to get outside. Just be sure to bundle up and drink plenty of water. Yesterday I went to Veteran's Park in Lexington before work. If you haven't been, I highly recommend it. They have grassy trails around a wooded creek and you can even take your dog. It'll do you both a world of good.
2. Try essetial oils. You might keep a couple of bottles at work and at home so that you can smell them a few times a day. You can use a cotton ball to drop the oils onto, or you can diffuse them. Essential oils of orange and grapefruit are uplifting and may help to remove the fog of winter from your mood.
3. Count your blessings. Whenever you're feeling down, make an effort to turn your thoughts around. Keep a gratitude journal or simply speak your gratitudes in your mind. Be thankful for your health, for sunshine, for a warm house, and for your food. Be thankful for your friends and family. You might feel better after you remind yourself of all the great things in your life.
4. Organize a family or friends dinner party. Winter starts off with a bang! We're very busy in November and December with holiday celebrations and New Years, and then the rest of the winter is pretty slow. Break up the monotony of day-to-day life by throwing a little party, maybe in February when things get quiet.
5. Take time to appreciate the season rather than wishing it away. Winter is an important time. Time to slow down. Time to hibernate. This slow season gives us time for reflection of the past year and planning for the new year. Time for crafting, cooking cozy dinners, and curling up with a good book. When you step outside, try to see the beauty of winter. The trees aren't dead, they're only sleeping.
6. Get a massage! Really! Massage helps your body to release lots of feel-good hormones and endorphins to keep you healthy and combat the winter blues. The massage table is warm, the music is ethereal, and your muscles are ready to relax under the hands of your friendly massage therapist.
Here are some photos from my walk through Veteran's Park yesterday:
Note: If you're feeling depressed, you might consider seeing your healthcare practitioner. I'm particularly fond of Chinese medicine and can recommend a good acupuncturist if you'd like a referral.
-Charley Caudill, Licensed Massage Therapist