Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a kind of depression and can hit people any time of year, but is more prevalent during the winter months. It’s caused by a variety of factors and can affect just about anyone, but there are ways to get through it. I’ve found that creativity is a great way to fight winter doldrums. When I’m feeling blue due to the oppressive gray skies, cold weather, and being stuck indoors, I come up with ways to exercise my mind.
The easiest way to work through those blue moods is by writing about them. I’ve previously written about journaling and how therapeutic I find it, and I always encourage others to give it a shot. It’s not like you need to spend any money to get started. All you need is something to write with. Grab a pen or pencil and some paper, a notepad or spiral notebook, and you’re on your way.
If you aren’t into old-school writing, you can use a word processor or one of the dozens of journaling apps. If you’re an Apple user, they just released a very nice journaling app for the iPhone. It allows you to not only write, but add photos, images, and even audio and video.
The point of journaling is to simply write about how you’re feeling, what you’re thinking, and how your day is going. That’s it. Once you get started, the words will come. Trust me. Regular journaling is a great habit to pick up and it’s much cheaper than therapy or prescription drugs.
If you find it difficult to get started, or maybe you struggle to write about your feelings firsthand, then write about them in the third person. What I mean is, write as if you’re describing someone else, someone you know who is going through the same things you are, experiencing the same feelings, sadness, or depression. Writing in the third person can provide you with a sort of distance that allows you to write freely.
One of the things I like to do when feeling blue is to get outside and take in the natural surroundings. I live in an area that has a lot of parks and greenways. Even my backyard is a bit of a nature haven. I have a lot of foliage, trees, and flowers, so there are always some squirrels and birds moving about out there. Then, after I feel like I’ve gotten a good dose of the outdoors, I’ll write a poem. Nothing fancy. Usually just free verse. And I write about what I just experienced, the way being outside makes me feel. You know, seeing all those colors, hearing the birdsong, gazing up into the limitless blue sky. Getting fresh air and then writing about it feels cleansing to me.
Of course, there are all sorts of creative ways to fight SAD. You can paint, draw, pick up an instrument (if you happen to have one handy), or even make up a song to sing. Yes, I admit to doing that. I’ll make up a tune to hum and start to sing (badly) made-up lyrics. Oftentimes, I come up with silly stuff to make myself laugh. Yes, it’s goofy. No, you probably don’t want to do it in front of others. But, also, it brings a smile to my face and keeps the blues at bay.
Feeling down this time of year isn’t unusual, but no one has to suffer. If you’re feeling SAD, try exploring your creativity to lift your spirits. If that doesn’t work, call someone. There are resources available online to help you and many of them are free.
Don’t let the blues win. You can feel better.