Shayne on You: Choosing to beat the winter blahs

Dear Maggie,

Iím usually so happy in the spring. Not so much in the winter. This winter was the hardest one on me yet, and all through it Iíve been down and blue. Iíve gained weight, lost energy, and barely sleep at night for all the stress about money these days. But all winter, I kept thinking, once spring arrives, Iíll be fine again. Iíll get my zest for life back again, like I always do. But itís not happening. I wake up and look at the weather report and think, itís too cold today. Iíll exercise later, when itís fifty again. And then when that fifty-degree day comes, Iím totally unmotivated, and would rather do nothing than get up and move. What can I do to get myself out of this rut?


Still-Stuck in the Winter Blahs

Dear Stuck,

First, Iíll say the usual, responsible things. Sounds like a bit of depression. Maybe youíve had Seasonal Depressive Disorder for a long time, and itís taken a turn for the worse. Maybe you need to talk to a therapist. Maybe you can try a mild anti-depressant. Maybe you can try putting those full-spectrum lights in the rooms where you spend the most time, and itíll perk you up.

Now Iím going to tell you how to fix this on your own, because this sounds mild enough that you have time. Any thoughts of suicide, though, and you get yourself to a doctor or crisis center immediately.

So, while all of the above might help Ė I know someone whoís lost 30 pounds within just a couple of months on the right anti-depressant, and is happier and more self-assured than ever. But it took years of being on the wrong meds, and lots of misery, before he got to that point.

Maybe try my way first, and just see if it has an impact. (It will if you can do it.)

We humans tend to approach things backwards. We feel great when things are good. We feel awful when things are bad. Weíre active and fit when we feel good. Weíre couch- potato-junk-food-addicts when we feel bad. This is exactly the opposite of what works.

The way out of feeling bad, is to do the things you would be doing if you were feeling good. Force yourself, pretend itís a great day even when itís not, and do the things youíd do on one of those upbeat, wonderful, sunshine-and-roses days. If you can manage this Ė even just one time Ė youíll be amazed at the results. If you workout, when youíre feeling like youíd rather curl up in the fetal position with a bag of cheesie-poofs, youíre going to force endorphins through your system, and end up feeling great. And when you feel great, you attract great things. The stuff outside you Ė the financial stuff and stressful stuff that got you feeling bad in the first placeóis going to fade away to make room for all the great stuff youíre attracting.

Instead of letting outside situations decide our moods for us, we need to decide our moods for ourselves, no matter whatís happening around us. If we choose to feel good, our lives change for the better. So do whatever it takes to get to a good-feeling place. For some of us, that means dragging our world-weary butts off the couch, getting outside, moving our bodies, and working up a good sweat, and the times we need to do that the most are the times when we feel like it the least.

One week. Try this for one week. I guarantee you, youíll feel great at the end of it, and from that great-feeling place, youíre going to see great things happen in the other parts of your life. Everything will begin to improve. Itís like magic. Itís like casting a spell that changes everything, but youíll know that those great changes came from the ones youíve made inside of you, and youíll be downright giddy as you realize what immense power you have over your life, right in your own mind and body.

Enjoy this!


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