Beating the winter blues (or at least looking like you have)
It’s been a tough 2013 so far.
I want to regale you with stories of my wonderful travels and the brilliant sites I saw — and I did, and it was fun — and I’m super grateful for the amazing opportunities that I’ve had and people I’ve shared my time with.
But this month – it’s also been hard. The year is hardly a month old, and there’s already been a fair amount of upheaval. Life and health have torn my bank account asunder, one of my once most precious friendships has fallen apart, and I’ve encountered unexpected personal loss.
When so much around you is – for lack of a better word — a mess, you sort of want to be able to say you have learned to appreciate all the things you have.
And so I’ve been trying to live in the moment — I took an Aerial Arts class last week. I failed miserably — far and away the least aerial of all the people in the class — but still, was really glad to have tried it — and grateful to Secret Deodorant for having invited me – it was to put their Secret Clinical Strength Stress Response to the test – and let me tell you, it rose to the occasion, even if my body did not. (Plus, it was at a press event, in front of many of my friends, which made it extra scary – and thus good for me to that end as well.)
But also, exercise is supposed to be great for relieving stress –and increasing energy — you know those “feel good chemicals” that improve your mood? Those are good things.
But I’ve also been eating too much chocolate (eating my feelings, much?) and not getting enough sleep. This morning, I went to a live taping of The View - and that was super fun, and tomorrow, I am attending a cooking class taught by celebrity chef Gina Neely - thus a two-fold fulfilling of my celebrity chef addiction.
My winter blues may be extenuating – sometimes blues are blue for a more blue reason than just the blues – but the winter blues impact a lot of our lives. And very often, it tells us to become a temporary hermit (or not so temporary) — especially when you are sequestered in the nether regions of humanity (dog-sitting in Gravesend for the week, alas, 90 minutes from civilization) and staying home, not bothering to go anywhere, seems the easiest thing to do.
There’s a lot we can do to feel better though — and I’m making it my mission to do some of those things every day. Whether it’s taking a break in the middle of the afternoon to have a really great conversation with a friend (and have it NOT be about me), or making weekend brunch plans – having something to look forward to is really good motivation.
You guys, I KNOW. Winter seems endless! But it’s like when we were kids – when you have something exciting coming up, your mood is just better. And so I’m stacking the excitement. Because winter will end. And even until it does, I’m not going to dwell on all the reasons I have to be blue – but think about all the reasons I have to be happy. Try it too, for yourself, plan something that’s exciting to you—a weekend trip, a day at the spa, a party.
Oh, or maybe plan to relax. Between my two trips and ensuing family drama, I didn’t have more than 4 hours sleep a night for several weeks straight. That can make even a relatively sane girl a little nutty.
I’m sure that was a big factor in my mental malaise — we’re all busy. It’s true. Work, class, family, friends, appointments, meetings—even if you enjoy your work — which I do, I LOVE what I do, we all need a little “us” time now and then. Don’t be afraid to say no sometimes. Or to…schedule time to do nothing. I was shocked when this was suggested to me — don’t forget, I’m the girl who accepted a project with a same day deadline while in the ICU after all. My biggest weakness may be my inability to turn off. But learn to be good to yourself. Read a book or magazine, go to bed early, try some meditation, or take a yoga class. Relaxation, especially in the form of yoga, can alleviate stress and leave you with a calm energy. Mental exercises like meditation and positive thinking can help keep depression at bay.
But also don’t underestimate the power of friends — I may have had a disappointing downturn in some relationships, but others are stronger than ever. Keep a mental list of these special people in your life who you can talk to when things get too crazy – and don’t be afraid to BE that person for someone — something as simple as a nice email or friendly text can turn someone’s day around. Yesterday, a sweet friend sent me flowers out of nowhere — I smiled for hours.
It’s in human nature to sleep more during winter — did you know that? But with all we have going on, sometimes sleep is the first thing to go. Aim for 7-8 hours each night — it may be a far reach, but it’s a goal. Try not to oversleep—those 12-hour snoozes on the weekend can actually make you MORE tired.
While we’re on the topic of brightening, check out this post I just did for StyleUnited, on 5 Beauty Tips for Beating the Winter Blues.
It’s hard not to feel down in the middle of winter, when the days are shorter, we’re all feeling sort of cold and bleak, and the merry holiday season is nowhere to be seen — but maybe — just maybe – a touch of bronzer or a bold red lip can go a long way toward making everything look a little brighter.
And puppies, puppies help too. So red lip AND puppies? (Shown here: Avon Totally Kissable in Smitten Red on my lips and the lovely Miss LILY on my lap!) We’re on the moon.