Winter. You. Your emotions. Your self-care. Any ideas?

Dr Gary
By Dr GaryCA Latest Reply 2014-01-29 22:12:03 -0600
Started 2014-01-12 19:54:28 -0600

HI!

The holidays are officially over and we are well into the winter months. If you live in cold country, like I do, that means you have at least a couple more months, or more, ahead of you. Cold weather, less sunshine, more time indoors (unless you snowboard)…

Okay, let me not dwell on the negative side of winter.

I actually like snow. I grew up in Michigan so I don't mind the cold so much. But I still have to admit that when 4:30 comes around and I have to turn on the lights, I do start to think about spring.

But I am wondering how everybody is coping. Do you find that the winter weather — including the lack of sunshine — affects your emotions? Do you have to try a little harder to keep it positive? Pushing yourself to stay active? Not pushing so much?

And how does the winter affect your appetite? Does that comfort food look even better this time of year?

Need some support?

Have any ideas to share for keeping it positive during the winter? And if you love the winter, maybe you can remind us of why we should, too? (Or invite us to visit you in Florida.)

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Gary


40 replies

jigsaw
jigsaw 2014-01-27 17:40:12 -0600 Report

There was a time years a go that I didn't mind cold weather. Sometimes I even enjoyed it. But, as the years crept up on me, I found the cold weather to be less and less enjoyable. During the eve hours, my feet were always cold, as were my hands, and my nose felt like someone stuck an icicle on my face.That was while I was living in the suburbs of NY. Eventually, I packed my bags and moved to NC. Thought the winters here would be mild. Well, it's been in the 20s here for the last couple of days Brrrrr! Not to worry though, I still do my outdoor brisk walks almost everyday. That's in spite of the fact that I freeze my ————off! Doing my best to remain positive, I keep reminding myself that it will be in the 70s, 80s and 90s most of the year, although these last few freezing days seem like forever. My wife had to go outside to the birdbath and melt the frozen water just so a cardinal that was attempting to have a drink, would succeed. Isn't she sweet! Anyway, barbecue days are almost here! Happy days again! Oh, your all invited for a barbecue, just make sure you use some sun protection when you arrive!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-01-29 22:12:03 -0600 Report

Hey jigsaw,

Great to see you again! Wow, I heard NC was getting some cold weather. Just mind-boggling, isn't it? Glad you are still getting those walks in. Just hope you are bundling up. Good for you. And yes, you will have nice warm weather soon, way before we do in New York. We'll still be shivering.

That barbeque sounds good about now. Most days, I feel like that cardinal in the birdbath!

Thanks a lot for checking in!

Gary

LadyJ910
LadyJ910 2014-01-26 07:26:59 -0600 Report

Hi

Not from Michigan lol.

And not a happy, positive person with a can do attitude like what seems to be the norm for the other posters here so far that I've read..lol

I have SAD very badly and getting worse every year.
I am not sure if it's the SAD or what, but I am feeling very lost, confused, helpless and etc.
I would just give up trying if I could find the energy…lol

I can't seem to do anything right about anything including the diabetes.

I tried asking my local mental health place about possible help with Diabetes Burnout… what a joke! They have no clue and thought I was just being a bother …lol

KK ..so yeah as to the original intent of my writing in reply to your question…
The winter grey dead days definitely do not help a person who already feels that dead grey inside themselves.
Though for me, this year is special.. it's still an extension of last years bout of SAD since I never did manage to pull out last spring like normal.

And before you ask… yes I know of and have tried all the usual helps… IE mental attitude adjustments..lol No luck.
The special lights are nice.. or so I have read, but to be practical, they are just toooo expensive for some one on a low fixed income.

Winter blahs cause a person to over-eat or make bad food choices because they are bored and/or trying to fill that grey emptiness inside themselves.
Or it can cause them to not eat enough because they feel Why Bother, low energy.

Ok now that you have heard from the dark side of the program… we now return you to the nice bright hopeful folks .. lol

Seriously …
God Bless You All and Keep up the good attitudes!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-01-26 14:00:39 -0600 Report

Hi LadyJ910,

Nice to see you. And welcome!

I am sorry to hear you are feeling so down. And I'm sorry you haven't been able to get the help you need.

I don't want to frustrate you by suggesting you do what you have already done, or by promising you pie in the sky. Have you talked to your doctor about feeling so down? Have you talked to a mental health professional about SAD? There are various treatments available, and treatment may be covered by your insurance company or healthcare program, e.g. Medicaid or Medicare. Just wondering if you have asked about this.

Believe me, I don't expect anyone pretend that life isn't hard, or that they don't feel bad when they are feeling bad.

I hope you will stay in touch with us!

Gary

powersintexas
powersintexas 2014-01-26 21:17:37 -0600 Report

I do have numerous interest. After my husband passed away all I wanted to do was sit. It was challenging to start doing any of my interest. Taking the first step was like moving a mountain. Taking the first step was the hardest. Even though i have several interest does not mean I do all these things. I have challenges everyday. I place several confirmations around for inspiration and make a list to do at least 2 things that I enjoy. Nice to have you as a friend. Donna

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-01-29 22:08:50 -0600 Report

Hi Donna, thanks for the reply. It sounds like you went through what a lot of people do when they lose their spouse. It's so hard to get moving again, the loss just knocks you over. That first step, as you said so well, gets followed by more steps. One step at a time. I am also a list-maker, each day. Great idea to add things you enjoy and not just work. It's great to be your friend! Gary

powersintexas
powersintexas 2014-01-25 11:20:02 -0600 Report

After reading all these suggestion. Let me ask you. What interest you? Do you like music? Airplanes? Cars? Painting? Share with me your interest. Tell me about you Who is Gary?

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-01-25 22:32:14 -0600 Report

Hey powers. I like music but am not a big music listener. I work a lot and spend a lot of time online, and I find music to be kind of distracting. I go to the gym, take long walks, and read. I think my interests aren't nearly as broad as yours. You are amazing! Gary

powersintexas
powersintexas 2014-01-25 11:15:55 -0600 Report

Gary, I lived in Omaha, Nebraska for 10 years and the winters are a time for indoor projects. I did puzzles, arts and crafts things, sewing, Manly things would be to build a bird house, refurnish a piece of furniture, Fix that leaky thing that you have put off. Shoveling snow is a exercise and dancing is an exercise too. Put on some music. I personally play classic rock and roll. Get giggy with it. No one is watching. Take a class online. put a model airplane or car together. The possiblities are endless. Find ways to put a lighter side of comfort foods. Bake a loaf of whole wheat bread. Plan you spring garden. Make a list of things to do when you can get outside. Read, study a subject you enjoy. Roast marshmallows in the fireplace and even go so far as to cook wieners and have a picnic in front of the fireplace with hot dogs. Focus on what you can do not what you can't. Change you propective

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-01-25 22:29:47 -0600 Report

Hi powersintexas,

Nice to hear from you, my friend.

Wow, these are some great ideas you shared here. You're right, lots of ways to stay active and enjoy life. Sounds like are keeping busy!

And yes, perspective is everything. The cup can be half empty or half full.

Stay in touch!

Gary

brusha-brusha
brusha-brusha 2014-01-17 10:35:54 -0600 Report

Well Gary, I view winter as just another season that is mandatory in nature. Since I am a reincarnated bear, I tend to hibernate through the winter. I keep busy around the house, well - ah, busy for winter. My motivation gene is pretty much out to lunch and seems to take vacations to Florida without me in winter.

I tend to bow out of social events, preferring to use the winter as a Time-Out from a busy world that takes place in spring, summer and autumn. I use the winter as a time to reflect, dot the I's and cross the T's … a time that allows me to catch up with myself. Right now, my area is experiencing numerous Alberta Clippers coming down from Canada. Looking out at the gathering, pristine snow, I see a world of peace, well being, and cloaked in white ermine.

Peace to all of you.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-01-18 14:39:10 -0600 Report

Hi brusha-brusha,

I appreciated your thoughtful note. It can be a good thing to recognize your energy cycles and to work with them. A very good idea. Sounds like you know your cycles really well. I think the winter is a good time for contemplation and reevaluation. I would like to do more of that myself during the winter. It tends to be a busy time for me because of the teaching I do. Otherwise I would be right there with you.

I also like looking out at the snow. So peaceful.

Thanks for checking in!

Gary

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-01-16 13:10:04 -0600 Report

Hi Dr. Gary. I cancelled the holidays. After not having heat for almost 2 months we were able to save enough money to replace our old oil furnace for an energy efficient gas furnace and because my sister works for a management company our $2000.00 retail furnace was purchased through her company's wholesalers for $400 bucks and one of the HVAC guys installed it at his cost so we saved money. We did lose 600 bucks in heating oil but giving it away for free was cheaper than having it pumped out of the tank.

Now I am back to being me again. I am having a blast this winter. I don't have enough hours in a day to finish what I am doing. It is too cold for walking. I do not do good with cold and diabetes with temps in the 20's and 30's. The Farmers Market closed in December so no more 4:30 am wake up calls till April. I love sleeping in on Sunday mornings my day off…LOL.

I have a lot of cases to read for the Civilian Review Board each month and brushing up on the law is fun for me. Because of that, I have had to have refresher police tactics training and I have to go to the police shooting range for refresher class on police weapons which requires using their shooting simulator.

I just taught myself how to make cold porcelain clay. Cooked up a batch Sunday and am now making jewelry with it. I have a jigsaw puzzle on the dining room table to work on and tons of books on the Kindle App on my tablet.

I am working on District wide events for the summer months with our District Commander and Neighborhood Services Sgt. I still have meetings to attend.

My sister and I decided to start the Weight Watchers diet and we are having fun trying out new recipes. I have not given comfort food too much thought. My favorite is a bowl of homeade soup on the coldest nights.

I think the winter months do not have to give you the blues or cabin fever if you find something to do with your time. Keeping busy with a hobby or some kind of activity can be fun. You Tube is filled with all kinds of exercise, cooking DIY and craft projects. I use it often. Not dwelling on the weather helps because none of us can change that. Use the time to look at what you want to do during the summer and make plans for them.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-01-16 12:27:06 -0600 Report

Hi Dr. Gary. I cancelled the holidays. After not having heat for almost 2 months we were able to save enough money to replace our old oil furnace for an energy efficient gas furnace and because my sister works for a management company our $2000.00 retail furnace was purchased through her company's wholesalers for $400 bucks and one of the HVAC guys installed it at his cost so we saved money. We did lose 600 bucks in heating oil but giving it away for free was cheaper than having it pumped out of the tank.

Now I am back to being me again. I am having a blast this winter. I don't have enough hours in a day to finish what I am doing. It is too cold for walking. I do not do good with cold and diabetes with temps in the 20's and 30's. The Farmers Market closed in December so no more 4:30 am wake up calls till April. I love sleeping in on Sunday mornings my day off…LOL.

I have a lot of cases to read for the Civilian Review Board each month and brushing up on the law is fun for me. Because of that, I have had to have refresher police tactics training and I have to go to the police shooting range for refresher class on police weapons which requires using their shooting simulator.

I just taught myself how to make cold porcelain clay. Cooked up a batch Sunday and am now making jewelry with it. I have a jigsaw puzzle on the dining room table to work on and tons of books on the Kindle App on my tablet.

I am working on District wide events for the summer months with our District Commander and Neighborhood Services Sgt. I still have meetings to attend.

My sister and I decided to start the Weight Watchers diet and we are having fun trying out new recipes. I have not given comfort food too much thought. My favorite is a bowl of homeade soup on the coldest nights.

I think the winter months do not have to give you the blues or cabin fever if you find something to do with your time. Keeping busy with a hobby or some kind of activity can be fun. You Tube is filled with all kinds of exercise, cooking DIY and craft projects. I use it often. Not dwelling on the weather helps because none of us can change that. Use the time to look at what you want to do during the summer and make plans for them.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-01-16 22:14:46 -0600 Report

Hi Joyce,

Nice to hear from you on this! So glad to hear you got the heat situation straightened out at your house. That is really good news! Very few things in life are worse than being cold in the winter. And what a great deal you got.

As always, it sounds like you are keeping yourself busy, between your work and your hobbies. Being busy is a good thing, at lease in the opinion of someone who pretty much stays busy all the time.

Great idea to buddy up on the Weight Watchers.

Hope you are taking a break when you need to! I am giving that advice to myself, too!

Gary

theladyiscrazy
theladyiscrazy 2014-01-16 10:41:43 -0600 Report

My husband is from MI. LOL.

For me, I like the cold weather. I find it easier to breath than the hot humid weather we are known for here on the southeast coast of VA. I am also hot nature, so I find the winter temperatures comfortable. For me, it isn't the season that affects my moods but weather as a whole. When it is dark and gloomy outside, I seem to have lack of energy and it is when I want "comfort foods". That type of weather can happen any season. Also, I have arthritis, so weather can really affect me at times. However, I am noticing that with the decrease in carbs, particularly a decrease in wheat, my pain levels have gone down. I am not sure what the connection is, just something that has happened.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-01-16 21:54:04 -0600 Report

Hey theladyiscrazy,

Thanks a lot for checking in. Nice to see you. And yet another Michigan connection.

There is a lot to say for colder weather when you compare it to heat and humidity. We have the same thing in NYC in the summer. It can be stifling.

I know what you mean about dark, gloomy days. Regardless of how cold or warm, they can affect your mood. I am sure the arthritis adds more challenges.

Glad to hear your pain levels have gone down. That counts as a victory! And good news.

Gary

sugarfreesweetp
sugarfreesweetp 2014-01-15 08:54:20 -0600 Report

There are an awful lot of displaces Michiganders here! I too, was born and raised in the mitten before moving to NYC.

I find that when I am feeling down, and yes, it's usually worse in the winter - That is the time I am more likely to say "I really deserve a treat right now". And that usually comes in the form of chocolate. For me the trick is to be OK with it. If I feel guilty and get mad at myself for "cheating" it just makes matters worse. In my case, I am on insulin - so I make sure when I "cheat" to carefully compensate with extra insulin, and check my blood sugars 2 hours later to make sure I am regulating properly.

MsBugzee
MsBugzee 2014-01-19 11:55:19 -0600 Report

One ounce of the darkest chocolate is good. One little piece from a good dark bar, like Green and Blacks is excellent to treat yourself. It helps you feel not deprived. Also vit. D is good. I take 2000mg every day.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-01-16 21:45:51 -0600 Report

Hey sugarfree,

So, smitten with the mitten! I am also in NYC. Lots of transplanted Michiganders here, you're right!

Very interesting connection between cold weather, feeling down, and needing a food reward. I see what you mean by that connection. Sounds like you have a way to accommodate the need for a treat with extra attention to your blood sugar levels.

Thanks for checking in!

Gary

Silicone eyes
Silicone eyes 2014-01-15 09:04:50 -0600 Report

I'm on the west side, near Lake Michigan. I think Ted Nugent coined the phrase 'Michiganiac' for those of us that stayed. lol

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-01-16 21:47:54 -0600 Report

Hey Silicone eyes,

The west side of Michigan is beautiful. A very nice area. Ted Nugent! Now there is a Michigan character for you. My grandmother used to live near him. Small world.

Gary

Bekah Nikole
Bekah Nikole 2014-01-14 23:38:41 -0600 Report

My husband and I were both born and raised in Michigan. I've never lived any where else until we got married, he joined the Air Force. We've spent all of our time so far in the south. Til now, we're in Nebraska. We both miss the warmer weather and having leaves on certain trees. The things that have been helping us has been going to new places, exercise and we've bought house plants. Which kind of helps cause we can see see green things. Try some sort of new thing it can perk you up if you keep up with it.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-01-16 21:42:07 -0600 Report

Hi Bekah,

Wow, so you grew up in Michigan. So you know all about winter, that's for sure.

I lived in Florida for a couple of years and I have to say I enjoyed the winters and avoiding the cold weather. A little more winter in Nebraska, I would guess.

Good idea to bring some green into your home. Along with the exercise and getting out. We have to make the best of things.

Nice to hear from you.

Gary

Risingsun611
Risingsun611 2014-01-13 13:18:54 -0600 Report

I live in NJ so we get all seasons. I do find in the winter months that my spirits are a bit lower. Sunshine makes me happy though. So even if its cold out, I am still happier if the sun is out also. I do tend to eat more during the winter, which is why doctor's say that this is the worst time for people with diabetes. I just try to stay conscientious of my food choices, but it doesn't always work. Those darn comfort foods are so good!!! :)

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-01-13 21:48:43 -0600 Report

Hey Risingsun,

So, we are neighbors! Those sunny days are welcome, even when it's cold. Amazing how our bodies just seem to crave the comfort food in the winter -- nothing hits the spot like macaroni and cheese... until you have to deal with the consequences. But so many benefits to toeing the line!

Gary

Risingsun611
Risingsun611 2014-01-14 12:32:04 -0600 Report

Mac and Cheese is one of my favorites. It is also the one dish I make the best. I've learned to use alternatives when I decide to make it. Such as Fat free or lowfast cheeses, Olivio instead of butter and DreamFields instead of regular pasta.

101 Diabetics
101 Diabetics 2014-01-13 10:37:34 -0600 Report

Hey Gary! I was also born in Michigan, left there as a teenager, moved South, and I luv it down here. But just like winter can be so miserable sometime, so to can the South be miserable with the high temperatures and humidity.

I just can't deal with the cold like I used to. That means I am staying inside more. I miss the outdoors, mowing grass, working on my flowers, playing with the animals. Just before Winter, I'll be glad grass season is almost over with to!

But our Springtime weather is closer than we realize! I keep saying another 50-60 days and here I come!

I also take Vitamins C and D supplements to try to replace the things I may not be getting by not getting out as much. Don't know if it helps that much, but at least I am trying.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-01-13 21:45:40 -0600 Report

Hey 101!

So, another Michigander. Fantastic! But I bet you especially enjoy being down south during the winter. But I know what you mean about the hot and humid summers. Though I have to say the summer is no picnic in NYC either, when that humidity is at its worse.

And you're right, spring is on its way. The days are already getting longer, a couple of minutes or so every day.

I do the vitamin supplement thing to. My Vitamin D is back up to normal, finally!

Gary

101 Diabetics
101 Diabetics 2014-01-13 21:47:45 -0600 Report

Well Gary, I was rather surprised that you do the supplement thing! But I fully believe that due to the processing of our foods, we lose a lot of good nutritional benefits. The only other way is to use supplements (IMO) ;o)

Silicone eyes
Silicone eyes 2014-01-13 08:15:42 -0600 Report

I actually eat better in the winter, too cold to stand around a barbecue with a 6 pack. Michigan is great, just have to participate in whats available, skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing. The Blues concert series is always in Jan. and Feb. too

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-01-13 21:41:43 -0600 Report

Hi Silicone eyes,

Good point, there may be fewer temptations to break the diet in the winter. I had some great times during those Michigan winters, you just gotta learn to work with the cold weather and snow, and not against it.

Gary

denipink57
denipink57 2014-01-13 03:54:42 -0600 Report

i am very affected by the lack of sunshine. it affects my mood. i am bipolar and i take Latuda to stabilize my moods. you could purchase a light specially made for those that suffer from lack of sunshine.

i don't like the winter months and stay inside as much as possible. i just make sure i am busy doing the things that i love most like writing for example. this helps me.

as for eating comfort foods i do a little bit but i am careful to follow a good diabetic diet otherwise i test high or low. right now my bs is in the zone and i am happy with that.

i am a very positive person and i can always make a bad situation into a good one just with a good attitude. i am always looking for the silver lining. Denise

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-01-13 21:40:09 -0600 Report

Hi Denise,

If your mood is affected by lack of sunlight, then the winter months can be difficult indeed. I have a couple of clients who use the light you described, and it helps them a lot.

Keeping yourself occupied during the winter months can be a challenge. Sounds like you have found a way to do it. Writing is a great way to relax and sort out your thoughts.

You are taking good care of yourself! Glad you are staying optimistic!

Gary

dagger1234
dagger1234 2014-01-12 21:59:34 -0600 Report

I think of it like this…regardless of what season (winter or summer), there is still no excuse. Although the colder seasons makes you feel less motivated: there is easy access to exercising dvds, work out games, internet and etc more resources to do.

I hate working out alone and I'm usually alone and can't be motivated, so I been doing exercising games. Lol

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-01-13 21:35:10 -0600 Report

Hi dagger,

What am I am hearing from you is, if there is a will, there is a way. It may take a few extra steps (or a drive), but it's possible to find a way to get exercise. Sounds like you are making it fun!

Gary

kimfing
kimfing 2014-01-12 21:00:18 -0600 Report

Or i can invite you to Arizona :-) it's beautiful here. Easy to stay positive until summer hits us

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-01-13 21:33:12 -0600 Report

That nice dry heat would be very welcome right about now!

kimfing
kimfing 2014-01-13 21:46:24 -0600 Report

I bet it would. I always tell people when they tell me we have a dry heat "so is the oven, try turning it on and stick your head in" . Ha ha ha lol.:-):-):-):-):-)

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