I always read so many stories in November and December about people becoming depressed during the holidays. It’s actually January that I dread. The buildup from Christmas parties and seasonal gatherings has passed, I’m ridiculously broke, whether from present buying, or traveling, or tons of hostess gifts. I’ve probably gained a pound or two (or five), and it’s ALWAYS dark and cold (even in Austin). I long for the sunny hot days of summer, which bring me down even further. This has been a pattern in my life for the past nine years (and yes, I am aware that I have SAD) so when I feel it begin to start, I try to combat it naturally, because I freaking hate how I feel on anti-depressants.
I usually walk/jog with B 3.5 miles per day, but the dark, cold days make me want to stay inside, which makes me more susceptible to sad feelings. Also, every MLK day, I get hit with Cedar fever, just like clock work, so I can’t really go outside for long periods of time. Hurray for the treadmill! I don’t like the workout I get on it as much as I do the workouts I get outside, but hey, something is better than nothing, right? Also, this is when I usually start in on my yoga and pilates. I figure it’s a good time to try and sculpt my bathing suit body. As Elle said in Legally Blonde, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t kill their husbands.” And I will admit, being happy makes me less likely to kill people, husband or not.
I don’t use that word as “I’m going on a diet;” I mean it strictly as “what I eat.” Because everything is so dark and glum, and we go through a week of freezing, followed by three days of 70s, followed by a week of freezing, my diet can look a little glum as well. I’m talking fast food, massive amounts of bread and potatoes, and soda (which I had cut out back in September). So I try to do little things to perk my meals up. I add lemon in every place that I can think of. Lemon just has that light, happy zing that I need. My favorite recipe is this – Pasta Carbonara with Lemon and Leeks. It is so freaking simple, incredibly satisfying, and very uplifting. I also eat oatmeal – it satisfies the stew-like thickness that I crave, and the sweet, but without all of the sugar (I eat sugar-free varieties). Fun flavored herbal teas make drinking warm things more enjoyable.
I really am not very good at meditation, but I do try every now and then, and I do set aside pampering time for myself. I am, as most of us are, my own worst critic, and I am constantly trying to be easier on myself. It helps to have dinner/drinks with J – she is really good at talking me down when I’m nutso. Also, I recognize that I am human, and that sometimes, I need to cut myself some slack. So my stomach is not perfectly flat. I am not a supermodel, I don’t get paid to look like a twig. I’ll be honest – writing this blog helps. It’s cathartic, and it is insanely embarrassing to write things down that I was so upset over and seeing how idiotic it seemed. But hindsight it 20/20, and I try to remember that.