Monday, October 28, 2013

Positive Thoughts (or sucking it up as winter approaches)

(You guys, I'm sorry. I don't know WHY the second half of this post is a smaller font. I have tried everything. I have rewritten and reformatted and all of that. No dice. It's annoying, but let's just blame it on winter and move on.)

It happened. Daylight Savings. We fell back here in Germany. And everyone's all "oh you get an extra hour of sleep!" but let me just tell you something, everyone...NO. Stop it. That's like telling someone with a horrible haircut that "it will grow out so fast!" It's false reassurance. False hope. False good news. The haircut still sucks. The sun setting an hour earlier still sucks the life out of me.

I know people who poo-poo the whole "seasonal affective disorder" thing or feeling down and deflated when the days get shorter (and colder and more awful)...and hey, that's ok. But just because YOU don't deal with it doesn't mean it doesn't exist (looking straight at you, Z). It's a real thing. I start to feel it as soon as the shadows get longer and the leaves start to change. I fight it. I resist it. I treat myself with care and reward myself for small victories like cooking dinner or staying awake past 7pm. I do little things to try to ease into the adjustment between fall and winter, to try to make it a little less depressing. But it happens, every year. The inevitable "slump". 

So it's time to focus on the positives...the good parts of life...to combat the negative feelings about the impending doom winter and all that this season has to bring. Today we reject the cold temperatures, we reject the 5pm sunset, we reject the naked trees, we reject the cloudy, dark days. Today we are cheerleaders for positive thoughts. Suck it up. Just for a few minutes. Then go back to radical self care, as Anne Lamott would say. Reward yourself with hot tea and fuzzy socks and Snuggies and pumpkin flavored goodies (or you know, whatever floats your boat). This too shall pass. Cut yourself some slack if you get hit by the slump like I do. You're allowed to feel the way you feel. But focusing on the positives is a sure way to give you just the boost you need to get through the first days of darkness, the days when the loss of sunlight makes you feel tired and heavy...at least it works for me! So here we go.

1. This winter, I have a giant, cuddly, dopey Great Dane to keep me company, get me out of the house and exercising (in theory), keep me amused and keep my feet warm. There's all those studies that say having a dog reduces depression and anxiety and promotes general well-being, so I'm feeling good about this. However, as I write this and glance at our sweet puppy, I'm concerned that she might actually be suffering from the seasonal blues as well, so we could have a bigger issue on our hands... 
Olive's seasonal slump
2. We just came back from an amazing vacation in Italy where we met up with my parents for a few days. This is always good for my soul. The positive vibes from this trip should keep me going for at LEAST a few weeks. My parents got to see me right in the middle of the pregnancy, we got to spend good quality time together, and hey, we were in Italy. All fabulous things. It still weirds me out that the next time we'll see them, it will be with our baby...     
All of us at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome

3. Pumpkin flavored everything. I've made this amazing pumpkin coffee cake. Twice. (I skip the drizzle, it's sweet enough with just the struesel topping). And these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Annnnnnd also these pumpkin muffins. A pumpkin cheesecake is surely in our future. (Secretly, I'm just trying to get Z to gain weight with me...pregnancy should be a team event, right? Unfortunately my attempts have been foiled because he works out, like, every day. SUPER annoying.)

4. HOLIDAYS. You know how I feel about these, right? I just love holidays. Almost any holiday. I love festivities. And decorations. And holiday food. And traditions. THEY ARE UPON US! And I am ready to decorate for Christmas. Seriously. But I will wait until after Thanksgiving, so just calm down, DAD. While it's still a little strange to adjust to the holidays away from our families, Z and I try to look on the bright side of these "just us" holidays. We get to spend time, just the two of us, merging family traditions and creating our own. It is an incredibly relaxing time...think about it...no where to go. No place to be. No one coming to us. Just us. And we will especially treasure this year because it will be perhaps the only time for the rest of our lives where it is just the two of us celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas together. So we will treat it like a gift and try not to cry or feel sad or lonely or envious of our families who get to celebrate together in the states. While I feel especially sad around the holidays about living so far away from our loved ones, I also am REALLY looking forward to another holiday season alone with Z. We eat good food. We watch a lot of movies. We get to stay in our pajamas as much as we want (this is especially exciting to me, as real pants are just less and less appealing with my expanding waistline).

5. Pregnancy. I will admit, it is hard to sink into too much of a slump when you have little baby kicks nudging you all day long. I have not loved being pregnant, but I DO love feeling that baby move. And while I'm nervous and overwhelmed about what's to come, I'm also SO very excited. We both are. We can't wait to meet this little one and each day brings us closer to that...so I think this winter will be special. Also, bonus! Being pregnant has drastically reduced my cold-natured-ness so maybe, JUST MAYBE, I will be more welcoming and forgiving of the icy winter air.

There we go. Positive thoughts. I feel better already. Now you try it.

1 comment:

  1. 2 things:

    1). I love Anne Lamott. Glad someone else reads her.

    2). I was hit VERY hard by the SAD over there. So much in fact that I talked about how glorious the sun was upon returning. For like a whole week :)

    I applaud your positive thinking! And love the pumpkin stuff. And will be right there with you decorating for Christmas! And maybe jamming to the josh groban Christmas cd.

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