Today’s post isn’t my typical home décor inspiration. Instead, I’m sharing how I’m battling winter depression because I figure there are probably other people out there who also suffer from seasonal depression. I always struggle this time of year due to shorter days and cold, blustery weather that keeps me indoors for far too long.
I miss my flowers, the fish in my garden pond, the long days, and the sweet, warm breezes of summer. Having the house closed up with all the windows shut bothers me too. Although I have to confess I did crack my bedroom window open one night when the temperature was in the low 40s. I could actually smell the earth. It was a little intoxicating.
In the summer, I sometimes have “nightmares” of it being winter again. I wake up in a very mild panic only to be reassured that it’s still July and everything is green and beautiful. That’s how much I dread winter. When I found myself wanting to go to bed earlier every day, I knew I had to do something to snap out of the winter funk.
This year I decided to be more proactive and create a plan of attack against suffering from seasonal depression. I mulled over what positive things I could do to improve my lethargic situation. The first thing I did was treat myself to a big splurge and booked a trip to Hawaii for late February. I’ve never been to the 50th state and it’s the most I’ve ever spent on a vacation, but I decided my mental health is worth it. I don’t mean to boast, but truly, I needed something drastic to snap me out of my funk.
My birthday falls in February so I’m making a pact with myself to always go somewhere warm to celebrate. We live halfway between the Chicago airports and the Rockford airport. If you fly out of Rockford on a weekday, you can get really cheap flights to various places in Florida. So next year, I’ll book a cheaper vacation. And then once in a while I’ll splurge again. But for now, I’m looking forward to exploring Hawaii’s island of Kauai. I decided on Kauai after talking to a friend who has visited every Hawaiian island. It’s the Garden Island and I’m anxious to see all of its raw beauty.
Now that Hawaii is booked, another positive thing I’m doing to battle winter depression is eating healthier. Two years ago I lost weight on Noom, but eventually gained the weight back (same old story). As I get older, I’m more conscious of health choices and have switched to a mix of a Mediterranean/Mexican diet, which isn’t really a diet at all. It’s just a matter of eating mostly vegetables and fruits, along with whole grains, fish, legumes, and healthy fats like olive oil.
I’ve been eating this healthier diet for four weeks now and have lost seven pounds. It hasn’t been hard to stick with it. My main struggle with eating is binging at night while watching television. I can eat like a bird throughout the day but there’s something about the evening hours that make me feel like eating. I’ll switch between sweet and salty foods – specifically goldfish crackers and peanut M&Ms (which don’t really feel like food at all because they’re both so highly processed).
I’ll sit in front of a favorite show and eat goldfish crackers. Then I want something sweet to balance the salt. And then I’ll want something salty to balance the sugar. It was becoming an unhealthy and vicious back and forth for me. Now if I need to snack, I slice up an apple and dip it in a bit of peanut butter, which I measure out so I don’t eat too much of it. However, I’m trying to break the habit of snacking in front of the T.V.
I’ve learned that I can’t have any junk food in the house because I’m too tempted to eat it. I take a grocery list to the store with me and stick to what’s on the list. It takes discipline, but I use the trip to Hawaii as motivation. I figure I’ll be able to do more hiking if I drop the extra weight. There are plenty of trails on the island of Kauai and we plan to go kayaking, too.
So far my strategy is working! Healthier food gives me more energy throughout the day, along with a better night’s sleep. The upcoming trip is my motivation to stick with it.
Breaking harmful habits can be really hard to do. Once those habits take hold, it can be difficult to find the motivation to shake them. My hope is that I can continue to focus on better health after the trip is over. I’ve given up processed foods for the most part and cook a lot from scratch, which I have to do on the weekends since I work during the week.
If you’ve been to Kauai, I would love to know what you enjoyed about it. Did you find a favorite restaurant, or a charming place off the beaten path? Let me know in the comments below!
Click here for more tips on battling seasonal depression.