Merry Midwinter - 5 Tips For Beating Doldrums

A dusting of snow around our little pond...

Doldrums: a period of stagnation or slump

It is a proven fact that this is the time of year people suffer most from mild to moderate depression. It can manifest as a few days of doldrums, or as a chronic malaise. But pretty much everyone experiences the "bleak midwinter blahs". We long for sun and spring.

I won't claim to have found a cure-all for midwinter malaise, but the tips you find here today are hard-won. They come from a knowledge that is first-hand and not book-read. I didn't google "midwinter malaise" - much like I didn't google "grace" or "George MacDonald" or "how to have a great marriage".

1. exercise - proven to be as effective as antidepressants.

2. produce - get something done. Pick one thing, and do it thoroughly and well. The sense of accomplishment will spill over into the next thing, and the next...and so on. Accomplishment begets accomplishment. A body in motion tends to remain in motion, a body at rest tends to remain at rest. Get something done.

3. coffee - this will seem unhealthy to some, but evidence suggests that it is actually healthy to have that cuppa Joe in the morning. It is full of antioxidants, and the caffeine does, in fact, make you sharper and more energetic. Just don't overdo it, and you'll be fine. Go on...have a cup of coffee when you feel the lethargy trying to set in on you. Mostly, simply enjoy your coffee. Preferably with a good book and the smallest bite of something sweet. My coffee breaks are akin to a proper southern woman's "tea time". It is my few minutes to breathe deeply, savor, look out the window and wonder at the world.

4. Get outside. Embrace the cold of winter. (Embrace the humid-heat of summer, too, but that is another post for another season....) I'm telling you, few things feel better than coming into a cozy warm house when you've been outside in the cold. Bundle up and get outside, get some sunshine on those retinas...15-30 minutes, studies show. My own experience leans closer to 30 minutes. It does not matter if it is a cloudy day. You still need to be outside, where the daylight is, however cloudy it might be, for at least 15 minutes. Adjust your perspective to be an Attitude of Gratitude for the seasons, the weather, the cold, the warm house you will go back to. This works!

5. Lastly, two tips straight from the Bible. (I know - I said "5 Tips". I have twin girls. I never could resist a two-for-one deal.)

Ointment and perfume delight the heart, And the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel. Proverbs 27:9

5a. essential oils. This isn't woo-woo, new age silliness. This is tried and true Biblical remedy. Orange oil works wonders for me in winter, as does peppermint. Simply put a drop or two in the palm of your hand, rub your hands together, put your hands near your face, and breathe deeply. Really. Breathe. I often huff lavender at night. And a couple drops of eucalyptus oil is fantastic in the floor of your shower, just before you turn on the hot water. One of the best purchases I made, was a couple of small vials of essential oil (it has to be the real deal) in a roll-on application. I carry these in my purse, and roll one into the palms of my hands when I'm sitting in traffic, and then I just breathe it in. Makes me happy. It rejoices my heart. It'll make you happy. Promise.

5b. Good girlfriends. The older I get, the more I value my girlfriends. Especially the ones that make me laugh. And give me little presents. The ones who need me, yet are not "needy". The ones who can handle a season of silence, yet will answer my email in a flash if they but glimpse that my heart might be aching. The ones I can count on to stick and stay, no matter how much I show my butt. If you have walked this earth and collected one True Girl Friend thus far, you are blessed and to be envied. Every woman proclaims her own goodness, but a faithful woman who can find? (Proverbs, tweaked to the female pronoun.)

Spend some time with a fun and funny girl. If she's a pretty girl, even better. I so love me a pretty girl - in the nicest sort of way. I got me some gorgeous home-girls. Some with blue eyes, some with brown...some who are plus-size, some who are size two - but they are all cute as can be, otherwise I wouldn't like 'em as much.

My daughters are pretty and witty. I have no idea where they got it.

(Big Barney Fife snifffffff)

We give each other space, and get all up in each other's business. They are my best girlfriends, too.

My home-girls rejoice my heart. They are just the thing on a frosty winter email from one, a brief chat with another, catching a movie with yet another, its all good.
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