50/50: On rainy days and Mondays, create your own inner sunshine
I look out the window. I can't tell what time it is because everything is gray. It could be 7 a.m. or it could be noon. Sigh. This is the third day of clouds and rain and wind. I feel a heaviness in my chest and a slowness in my step. I really do...
I look out the window. I can't tell what time it is because everything is gray. It could be 7 a.m. or it could be noon. Sigh.
This is the third day of clouds and rain and wind. I feel a heaviness in my chest and a slowness in my step. I really don't see the point in getting out of my pajamas today. Or yesterday. Hmm, or the day before, now that I think about it. I think Mercury has just gone into reverse retrograde. Prograde? Forwardgrade?
I don't know the specifics, but I know I have a long list of "shoulds" piling up. I should sweep the floor and do some laundry. I should buy some groceries. But then I'd have to actually cook. Forget buying groceries. I should exercise. I should get out of the house. I force a smile and cheerfully announce that today is Positivity Day, doggone it.
I look for the good everywhere I can, smiling at fellow motorists as they scowl at me at stoplights. Jason, a bagger at the grocery store, tells me he hates the day, and when I tell him it's Positivity Day he says he's not a part of it. I tell him he can do it tomorrow.
I don't know how much longer I can keep this up, but thankfully I fall into bed around midnight, certain I'll do better tomorrow.
Tomorrow is now today. What is that bright thing? I'm confused. Oh! The sun! And no clouds! Did the sky always look that blue? Are the trees actually that green? I feel lighter inside. At one point I actually skipped down the street. I danced in my kitchen, singing "Bang Bang" at the top of my lungs. I floated easily from one activity to the next, clear-headed and ridiculously happy, unable to stop smiling.
I couldn't believe the difference between the two days. It was like day and night. And most of my friends agreed. "I knit an entire afghan yesterday!" one said. "I wrote an entire novel yesterday!" another informed me.
I baked some rhubarb crunch, a batch of rhubarb muffins, some rhubarb bread and had enough energy left over to make some rhubarb-infused vodka. We have a lot of rhubarb.
I know I suffer from seasonal affective disorder, and the past two winters have been especially gruesome. But it's May. I shouldn't be affected anymore. Which leads me to a thought-maybe what we've been doing isn't enough. Maybe we need to do something else. Create our own sunshine? What does that even mean?
I've got my light box, I take vitamin D, I (try to) exercise. Maybe I'm looking too much on the outside. Maybe the answer is found on the inside.
That's why I created Susie's Inner Sunshine List (you must create your own):
• Light candles.
• Put on my meditation CD.
• Fire up my diffuser. (I especially love Angelica and Joy oils.)
• Put down my laptop and take a few deep breaths.
• Do some meaningful stretches (not just the "lean over a little-that's good" ones).
• TAKE A SHOWER. Get it over with. Just take a shower. Do it now.
• Put on REAL clothes.
• GET OUT THE DOOR.
• Meet a friend for coffee, go for a walk, go to Barnes & Noble or the library.
• Bake. (Baking somehow always lifts my mood, and I know it makes Hubby and Son happy.)
• Corral my thoughts. (Usually when I'm feeling down I think a lot of thoughts, and they're not always productive, so I try to herd them into my Happy Corral and make fun plans like our Montana trip this summer or Scotland next year or my fantasy garden.)
I hate to admit this, but after these last two winters, I'm seriously considering moving to a sunnier, gentler climate. Maybe it's because I'm 54, and our eyes are looking southward toward retirement (Hubby's older-I'm far too young to retire). But that may very well end up being No. 1 on my Inner Sunshine List-taking a chance and stepping outside my (cloudy) Winter Box to create sunshine on the outside AND inside.
I'm not sure-we'll have to see how this summer goes, all 15 days of it. Or did I miss it?
Susie Ekberg Risher is a writer living in Fargo. Her column started as a yearlong project to lose 50 pounds in 50 weeks, but she's continuing her wellness journey, with half the focus on food and exercise and the other half on mindfulness. Readers can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org .