Courage in the Face of a Gray Day
I woke up this morning to a gray, rainy day. The air has cooled down significantly (yesterday was humid and warm, until the evening) and there isn't much light coming into the house.
All of which triggers my "OH NO, SAD" fear.
Last year, I actually did really well, considering that we had just moved back to a northern climate (I dislike cold temperatures fairly intensely, even the not-really-winter in Southern Alabama made me grumpy and cold) and had all the stress of moving plus not being sure how everything was going to go.
I started taking St John's Wort and lots and lots of vitamin D3*. Both of which I am still taking, just in lesser quantities when it isn't dark/ cold. (I have just started upping the SJW and I started upping the vitamin D at the beginning of the month.)
I think the thing that helped the most was knowing that we came here for a reason (that we choose to come back to living in the northern cold) and how much more we fit into the surrounding culture**. Since I had had no idea what winter would be like the first time around (when we moved from Southern California to Toronto in 2002), that first winter is a blur of "omg this is so horrible, how I am I ever going to survive this?"
It did get easier, each year (we were in Toronto for three years before moving to Alabama for five).
I had more tools, both physical and emotional. I could cope easier. And that is even more true now.
For example, I hadn't realized how much photography would help get me through the winter. At least those first few months, where everything is still pretty, it helped tremendously to take my camera out and find the beauty.
We also don't have a dog that needs to be walked 4x a day anymore, that is a huge improvement. I can literally stay in the house*** all day long (except for going out to greet my child at the bus) if I need to. I found it shocking how few days I needed to do that, last year.
I am taking courage from my previous years. I am taking courage that I have lived through winter**** before and survived and will do so again.
I have courage on my side this year. And that makes all the difference in the world. I hope.
* I never ended up trying light therapy. That is another option I may explore this year, if I feel like winter is beginning to take advantage of me.
** It never ceases to amaze me how close we live to NYC. Or how much better the restaurants are here than just about anywhere we've ever lived before. And also, how much a difference just a few degrees make: NJ's winter is not nearly as long or as cold as Toronto's.
*** I know all the advice says that SAD will be lessened if you go outside, but I also have a huge intolerance of cold temperatures, so being warm and looking out the window is better for me.
**** This will literally be the fifth actual-winter-that-gets-below-freezing I have experienced.