Has the winter taken a toll on you? Feel like you’re trapped inside a snow globe? There is no escape from the harsh bitter cold winds. Is your life interrupted by the ice-covered roads, slushy parking lots and steady snow showers while you’re waiting for the warmth of bright sunshine to melt through the thick grey colored sky?
Makes me think of a snow globe, being turned upside down and back again over and over. In the beginning, it may look pretty and fun to play with, but after a while, it soon becomes boring, old and wearisome. Let’s put it on the shelf…let the snow settle and forget about winter.
For some of my friends, the winter season is taking its toll on their emotions and physical health. They feel SAD. It’s true that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can be a culprit of ill-health for many. I can understand why they feel as they do. As a gal born and raised in the deep South, I truly dislike going days without feeling the warmth of sun on my face and because of the bitter cold and wind chill, I miss the enjoyment of long outdoor walks or jogging on sidewalks through my neighborhood. There’s also the hazard of slipping on ice. I look forward to the simple joy of walking with a normal gait down the driveway to collect the mail.
So, in my personal goal of learning to enjoy living life in a snow globe (so to speak) I’m making a choice to wear joy like makeup…and it is turning a SAD day into a GLAD day.
What do I mean by ‘wearing joy like makeup?’ Try this on for size–make an acrostic out of the word, GLAD. For example:
G: Go stand in front of a mirror. Relax your shoulders, check your posture and smile back at your reflection. Hold that smile for a little longer and concentrate on the wonderful feeling of those joy muscles around your lips and eyes, working in unison to reverse the tired frown lines. While looking at your reflection, say out loud ten things that you are GLAD for. Do this several times throughout the day.
L: Load your refrigerator with fresh fruit and vegetables and refrain from eating sugary desserts and processed foods. For me, fighting the sugar craving during the cold months is harder to beat than hot days of summer. Because I know this about myself, I purposefully choose to have fresh produce or fruit to munch on.
Load your freezer with protein rich meals, prepared ahead of time. One of the best decisions I made this winter was adjusting my Saturday routine to include cooking several meals that would last us for more than a week. Because the days are shorter and the weather is brutal during the winter, I am more tired than other seasons and coming home from work to prepare a meal can be exhausting. It was easier to throw a frozen pizza in the oven than to prepare a healthy meal. Taking a few hours on a Saturday to make meals such as soup, beef stew, or white bean turkey chili keeps my family feeling quite glad and wearing joy on their faces!
A: Ask a friend to meet you for coffee or to visit a museum, go see a movie together or out to lunch. We need people around us for mutual encouragement and for a joy boost. Hire a baby-sitter for a few hours to get away with your spouse or a friend. Ask another family over to share a meal with your family and spread some joy from those meals you cooked ahead of time. And don’t be surprised when you discover that the people or person you reach out too is dealing with that same “snow-globe” winter effect.
D: Decide to make lifestyle changes, beginning with your attitude towards exercise. Zig Ziglar says it this way, “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” Surrendering to the winter blahs is an effect of having a grumpy attitude about a situation (winter) that you have no power over to change. What you do have power over is yourself. For me, my altitude is usually correlated to my exercise habits. I feel better when I exercise and the better I feel, the more apt I am to have a positive attitude. Make a decision to exercise on a regular basis. Many gyms offer winter memberships at a reduced rate, community organizations always offer group exercise classes, and finding an exercise coach via a DVD or internet is not hard to do.
So that’s it…my simple acrostic for turning a SAD day into a GLAD day through this “snow-globe winter.” It has helped me to be intentional about wearing joy and to be glad for this beautiful season of winter.
What are some ways you overcome the blahs of winter or choices you make to be glad?