By Jade Bonus
So it’s mid-February and we are up to our collective knees (or flailing on our arses) in snow and ice – brilliant. It’s not surprising that in the tail end of these cold, cold months that quite a few of us will be suffering a bit of the old Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD – the most appropriate acronym ever). Whilst it is tempting to ball oneself up into a thumb-sucking mess until April, by following these handy suggestions can go a long way in making the winter blues your beatch.
Say ‘Yes’ more than ‘No’
As a natural born hermit myself, I too well understand how hard it can be to leave the house once you are settled in on a cold night, but if you get an invitation – take it! Saying ‘Yes’ no matter how hard it seems holds infinite rewards. I have been bar hopping in Mutsu, seeing exhibitions in Aomori city, singing AC/DC in Hachinohe and playing pool in Towada – all with awesome people just because I said ‘Yes’ – this could be you! Make it happen.
Look after yourself
When the trip to the supermarket is one long slide on an ice bar, healthy eating can somewhat justifiably go by the wayside (and frankly, the odd cup noodle isn’t going to kill you, probably). That said, adding up several weeks or months of this is going to see you vitamin deficient, lethargic and crapulent, not to mention pretty depressed (because healthy food has vitamins and stuff we need, yo). So head to the supa load up on veggies, fruit and proteins and cook a bunch of healthy stuff you can freeze so you don’t have to go out again for a while. Aside from the fact this will save you a bundle of cash (which is always useful), you’ll feel spectacular which is always nifty. Also, and I don’t want to sound like the biggest killjoy ever, but watch your alcohol intake. Remember alcohol is a depressant, so if on the cold nights making love to a bottle of your favourite tipple is becoming a habit, there’s a good chance it’s making you sad as hell (lovers often do that) so keep it clean as best you can.
Get some endorphins up in ya
Endorphins, nature’s legal high and, even better, produced in our own bodies! Nice work there, biology. Endorphins are released when we get our blood pumping and our gland sweating so hit the gym if you can; if not, work out at home. Get some fresh air to go with your endorphins and go for a walk (because going outside is telling nature that it ain’t beat you yet!) or dance in your lounge room – anything goes really – just get that blood moving!
Chill on it
If you are anything like me (and I hope you are not), my first Aomori winter has caused a lot of anxiety. From the worries of driving on ice, potentially freezing pipes, non-working hot water heaters to the constant fear that the kerosene is going to run out at the most inopportune moment – all of these factors can have one zinging at a seriously high vibration, which in the long run sucks for both your central nervous system and psyche. To keep the adrenaline in check hit up a bit of yoga or meditation to get your calm back on. If there are no classes where you are or you lack the resources readily at hand, do what I do and hit up YouTube (because it’s free and free is always good) to find something that works for you.
Get out of town
Even if it’s just to the next town a change is as good as a holiday (although a holiday is better so if you can wangle the nenkyu, do that). As much as we love our locales, seeing something new (even if it too is covered in snow) is a great way to beat the doledrums. If you don’t want to drive (and I don’t blame you), do what I do and exploit the local public transport system – sure, the buses and trains don’t run that often but even the act of trying to go somewhere can be transformative. Get your boots on!
Finally, revel in the good things about winter
Let’s list them off. Sitting under the kotatsu watching a whole season of RuPaul’s Drag Race or catching up on all those episodes of Breaking Bad you’ve been hoarding because going outside is a fool’s business. Spending an entire day cooking a stew because you can and nothing else if going to ever taste better and your house is never going to smell so awesome. Reading a really, really long book. Hitting up the local (or not so local) onsen to infuse scalding heat to your body. Letting your personal grooming slide because no one is going to see your excess body hair under three layers of thermal underwear, your scarf or your beanie. These are all good things and now you have the perfect excuse to enjoy them! Brilliant!
And remember… like all things… winter too will pass…until December.
Here’s to bitching about the humidity in August!
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