Thursday, March 5, 2015

Winter blues got ya down?

Another winter storm has moved through Nashville. The city has slowed to a crawl. Downtown is a ghost town, schools are closed, Kroger is out of bread and milk. It's March 5 and still winter. In this part of the south, we are accustomed to seeing daffodils by now and some days with warm sunshine. This ongoing spell of winter can be hard to take.

I've had some clients recently asking me what's wrong with them. Here are some issues causing them concern: low energy, a desire to stay home, craving more sleep than usual, wanting to eat carbohydrates, general desire to cocoon. People are concerned that they are sinking into depression, taking the path to weight gain, or that they have a disorder.

My feeling is that this is a normal response to winter. I think it is hard-wired into humans to want to hibernate a bit when it is cold outside and warm inside and the daylight hours are in short supply. American culture seems to be a little obsessed with wanting to find the cause of changes in behavior. I think, however, that we move with the seasons. We naturally adapt to changes in weather, the natural world, and light. Our ancestors slept more during winter months because it was dark and sources of light expensive. Likewise, they worked longer hours and slept less during summer months because there was more work to be done and the light lasted longer.

Please stop with the winter self-judgment. You don't have a disorder. You're human, responding to the natural cycles of the earth. Cozy up with a book, a cup of tea, and a blanket. Slow down and take a nap. The sun will be out soon and you'll feel re-energized for the long growing season. Your energy will rise, you will get outside, and eat more salads and fewer potatoes. All is as it should be. You don't need fixing. Let yourself be.
© 2015 Janet Tuck