Fighting the Winter Blues

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I’ve been absent from my writing life the last several weeks, not just on the blog but in my other projects as well. I always find myself struggling with motivation and energy around this time of year. Daylight savings does a number on me, launching me into the doldrums every fall. I hate the lack of light, hate staying indoors when the weather turns frigid. I mope around the house, unable to focus. I turn suddenly philosophical, and start wondering why it matters, whether I write or not. Aren’t I going to die one day, anyway? (I know, this is melodramatic. But that is my point.)

This year, I simply don’t have time for this nonsense. I have a column to write, essays to submit, a book project in the works. I can’t afford to lose a whole season to the Winter Blues.

What I think I’ve finally figured out is that so much of this problem is (dun dun) hormonal. (Truly, I cannot imagine how easy life would be if my hormones would just stay at the same level, regardless of season, life circumstances, or time of the month.)

Since I’m now viewing this as a physiological issue (as opposed to blaming it on the time shift), I am attempting to tackle it with a variety of physiological solutions, but mostly diet. I bought not one, but two, enormous containers of triple-washed greens from Costco, along with a bag of walnuts that takes two hands to carry. I have the “Green Smoothies” section of a cookbook perpetually open on the counter. I’ve even been taking fish oil, which I normally eschew. Every meal, every snack, I’m preparing with one end in mind: Get as many nutrients into my body as possible.

This has been a big shift for me, actually.

I don’t know that I’ve ever considered food this way before. In the past, I have operated under one of two eating plans:
1.     Restrict something like fat, sugar, gluten or calories; or,
2.     Eat whatever the heck I want.

It’s simply never occurred to me that I can be mindful about food without consciously trying to curb something. Instead of trying to cut back on the “bad stuff” (what does that mean?), I’m just trying to cram in a lot of good stuff. Ice cream is still allowed, but (and I know, believe me, how crazy this sounds) I just don’t want it as much.

I’ve noticed a really big shift in my mood this week, just a few days after starting. I’m sleeping a lot better, which instantly gives me a boost. Plus my energy has been more regulated throughout the day, probably thanks to the green smoothies and fruit-and-nut snacks that I am now taking religiously. And lookit this: a blog post, which is proof positive that I’m feeling better.

Now if I could just get my kid to stay in her room for quiet time, my productivity would know no bounds...


  1. I have always thought I should try green smoothies, and maybe now I will. I am wondering how Thanksgiving went! I enjoyed your piece in Literary Mama - which is how I found your blog.

    1. Thanks for visiting, Vicky, and for taking the time to say you liked my last column. Thanksgiving went well, but I definitely fell off the green smoothie band wagon. But yesterday I grabbed another huge container of spinach, so I'll be getting back on track today.