“Winter is hard for me”
I’ve been saying this to myself since about 2004 and out loud to others for the past 3 or 4 years. Losing mum in November 2009 didn’t help me get better at handling the winter nights but it certainly wasn’t the beginning.
Throughout the year I’m an early riser, getting shit done before 7am and feeling great even if I use my early starts just to read a book. It still makes me feel like I’m being worthwhile just by being awake. Winter isn’t like that. I really struggle in winter. Even if I can wake early, I feel lethargic and wasteful which keeps a feeling of anxiety in the pit of my stomach.
The weird thing about this for me is that I love dark nights, cold weather and a bit of rain. My birthday is in December and I’ve always been a family person so Christmas is totally magical. That’s the thing, I can know all these things logically and still resent winter and how it makes me feel. I find myself trying to focus on the new year from the beginning of November – think of, and plan for, spring.
This year someone I trust said to me “why don’t you try to find a new story for you and winter?”. She explained it like this: I have a story for how I am in the lighter days when I get up early and feel productive. I have created another (negative) story for my natural behaviour in the winter months. How could I change that? Maybe I’m not going to be getting up early in winter, maybe I’m going to feel differently and have different energy levels. That’s ok – what’s the positive story of that?
I think this is a really interesting way of looking at things. I don’t think I’ve managed to create a positive story around my lying in bed yet but I’m trying not to judge myself.
Something else that has helped me is using my cycle tracking app “clue”. It helps to remind myself that sometimes how I feel is nothing to do with winter or my depression but could just be simple hormones. I find this really reassuring. It might not change how I feel but it changes how I feel about that feeling.
I’m beginning to realise that I don’t necessarily need to change my feelings (especially the negative ones). I can just feel them. As long as I pair that with an understanding of where they come from and that they will pass.
Maybe my winter story is more about self awareness than change. Maybe.
The Book Bit:
This blog is getting a bit of a reputation for book recommendations so I also wanted to share a really great read that I’ve been enjoying from Brene Brown The Gifts of Imperfection (thanks Jan for the heads up on this one). I’ve enjoyed listening to Brene’s talks online for the past few years and this is a really helpful, more in depth, look at her research, findings and how to action them.