Over the past few weeks I have spoken to a number of families who seem to be struggling in many ways, just to deal with day-to-day life. One family had multiple health problems with many medical appointments, another had a death which required an out of state trip. Even in my own family we have had various depressing problems.
I went to have coffee with a good friend and I was talking to her about life in general getting harder to deal with. She looked at me with great seriousness and told me I had caught the Winter Blahs. I laughed thinking she was joking. Well, in part she was but she was also deadly serious. This time of year is often hardest for families who are caregiving. Getting someone in a wheelchair to hospital appointments can be a nightmare in bad weather. Snow, icy roads and freezing fog combine to make any driving stressful. Multiple illness in a household causes more stress. Children can be cooped up in the house with few ways to get rid of excess energy.
I have been trying to think of ways, just small ways, to help get through this part of the year. For one thing the days of clouds and low light really depresses me so I have switched to full spectrum lights in many parts of my house, especially the lights I use mostly.
I try to find one thing each day to look forward to for myself. It can be 15 minutes with a good book, a quick manicure or planning my garden for when the spring comes.
If I have things to do that I really do not want to deal with, I try and do those early in the day if I can. That way they are not nagging at me for hours.
I get outside in the fresh air even if it is just for a few moments. I look for joy in small things; an insect creeping up a leaf or a pattern in the clouds (which was always a game when I was a kid). I also remind myself that winter is not going to last and that the sniffles and fog and horrid road trips will be gone soon.
I get exercise of some sort even if it is with the Wii or the stair stepper. I'll see if I can fit in a new project; being creative is a good cure for the Blahs. Knitting, painting, cooking or sewing are all productive and you can see the results of your work. Right now I am trying to grow some fresh herbs in pots on the window ledge.
Above all the support of friends and family helps. Being stuck together in a small space can make all of us edgy, but if you can get the family involved with a little planning you can chase away these Winter Blahs.