Celebrate the return of the light.
Winter is my least favorite season. I feel weird and sad if I can't go outside barefoot and walk in the woods. Thankfully, these past few months have been relatively warm and mild here in New York. Even so, the sky has been gray and the days are so short. The solstice, December 22, is the longest night of the year. That night of incredible darkness brings me hope and gives me energy, because the days start getting longer and will continue to grow until the next solstice at the end of June.
I don't celebrate many holidays these days, but I do always keep track of the wheel of the year―at the very least the four major points: two solstices and two equinoxes. Being aware of and in tune with the rhythm of the Earth is important to your own personal growth and development. You change, mentally and physically, right along with the Earth. The sooner you get on board with that truth the easier your life will get, I promise.
For example: The lack of sunlight causes our bodies to want more sleep. Instead of fighting nature, why not accept it? Go to bed a little earlier and you'll feel better in the morning. It's worth noting that there is a big difference between changing your routines to suit the seasons, and suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). While you may experience the desire to sleep and eat more, which is natural, you should be aware of how your body feels after you've given it what it wants. If you're going to bed earlier and earlier and still feel tired and sad during the day, you might be depressed. There's nothing really unnatural about being depressed during a dark and cold season, but there are ways to counteract the symptoms.
One of the easiest and most effective thing you can do, in my opinion, is replace some (not all!) of the light bulbs in your home with Full Spectrum CFLs or LEDs, like these. These bulbs are very bright and mimic natural sunlight. If you're like most people, the light bulbs in your home (whether they are CFLs or not) are probably on the warm side of the light spectrum, meaning the light is slightly yellow, and they impart a warm and cozy feeling. That's great, but if you're already depressed then more warm and cozy light might make you want to hibernate. Change out some of the lights in your home with full spectrum bulbs which offer light from the cold end of the spectrum. The light is slightly blue and it's uplifting and energizing.
Like I said, don't replace all your bulbs. You still want warm and cozy light in some places! My kitchen has only full spectrum bulbs, while my bedroom has only warm bulbs. The living room has three lamps, two are full spectrum and one is warm, so we can choose the light combination that best suits the situation. My office has a full spectrum light right above my desk, but then warmer bulbs in the corners of the room. So my desk feels bright and energized, and the rest of the room (where someone would be sitting if they were talking to me) feels calm and comfortable.
I've adapted many more techniques to stay happy in the winter including changing my diet, exercising more, taking short walks outside, remembering to see friends, and visiting greenhouses and conservatories, but far and above the change in light bulbs has made the biggest difference for me. CFLs and LEDs can still be expensive, so just change out one or maybe two bulbs in your home and see how you feel. The change in color will be shocking at first, but eventually you'll really appreciate it.
Having said all that, this has been my personal experience and I'm just sharing with you things that have helped me. If light bulbs aren't helping your depression, consider talking to your doctor about other things you can try.
Even though this isn't my favorite season, it's been a wonderful season for Zu Füß. I've been able to get to several local fairs, usually with the help of my sister, Danielle (who is also busy starting her own awesome business!). We've had so much fun meeting and talking to sooooo many new people. It's been less than a year since I had the idea to start making my own aromatherapy products, and less than six months since I actually filed the paperwork to become a business. That I've had the opportunity to connect with so many wonderful humans who are actually interested in what I do has been nothing short of mind-blowing. I'm so beyond thankful :)
And, of course, all of us at Zu Füß would like to wish you a happy Hanukkah, Christmas, Yule, Kwanzaa, Advent, Yalda, Pancha Ganapti, and Solstice. Happy Festivus, too!
And that brings us to the holidays! I've written two blog posts about December celebrations, and you should check them out.
First, "And So It's Christmas...Please Don't Send Me A Card" is all about unnecessary waste around the holidays, physical and emotional, and what you can do to combat it.
Second, the 2015 Zu Füß Holiday Gift Guide will help you find amazing, natural, and handmade gifts for your friends and families. You can also find a few of my favorite gift ideas below. Keep in mind shipping times when you're purchasing gifts!