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Monday, January 13, 2014

Dealing with a Bad Case of 'I Don't Care'?

'Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.' Virginia Satir

Dealing with a Case of I DON'T CARE

Do you ever deal with a case of I DON'T CARE? I do--especially around winter when spring is a ways off.

Although I don't think of it as SADS--or seasonal affective disorder syndrome--if it is SADS I certainly don't get a case as bad as others living in the Pacific Northwest. I simply experience a case of the 'I don't care' on individual gray days rather than an entire season.

According to Michael Craig Miller, M.D., Senior Editor, Mental Health Publishing, Harvard Health Publications:

"People with seasonal affective disorder syndrome lose steam when the days get shorter and the nights longer. Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder include loss of pleasure and energy, feelings of worthlessness, inability to concentrate, and uncontrollable urges to eat sugar and high-carbohydrate foods."

Okay--when I think about it that way, maybe the way I feel is related to the changing seasons when we have less light. Perhaps if I'm honest I do experience a subtle loss of pleasure and energy and that's what I interpret as a case of 'I don't care'.

Yet I wouldn't go so far as to say I get feelings of worthlessness or that I experience an inability to concentrate...I'd just say 'I don't care'.

The way We Cope makes the Difference

If this sounds like you, what can you do about it?

Seek Perspective and Acceptance

Stop thinking life should be another way in winter and start accepting things as they are.

Put your 'pulling-inward' energy in perspective: Bears hibernate during the winter so why shouldn't we? In some ways this is just part of the natural ebb and flow of life--we are in a resting or gestating period where we allow our brains to work off-line as they quietly hum below the surface. 

By accepting the quietude of winter as the natural precursor to the brightness of spring we can create a lighter experience around this understated season.

Actively Participate in Tranquil Activities

Enjoy a nap covered with soft fleece blankets or take a leisurely Epson salt bath or warm shower to ease the cold.

Take a good book or journal out to a coffee shop to enjoy the hum of human conversation around you as you sit quietly in a warm, bright environment.

Find ways to create a sense of peace in the misty days.

Get Outside to Get More Light

Bundle up and get outside for a walk or engage in your favorite winter sport--skiing, ice skating or snowshoeing. Being energetic outside will pick up your mood even if it's foggy and grey. 

Keep Expectations Down

Yes, overcoming inertia can be a challenge when you're in the 'I don't care' mood. So keep your expectations down--make a plan to step outside for the walk or make a plan to drive with friends to the ski lodge. 

If after you step out you don't want to walk much, don't. If after you drive to the ski lodge you don't want to ski, enjoy a hot cocoa and book in the lodge. Don't force it--allow possibilities to emerge by taking the first step.

As the old Aesop's Fable said, 'gentleness can succeed where force will fail'. Instead of overwhelming yourself with what you should do to overcome the darkness, find ways to embrace these days to create a more soothing, tranquil tone that lets you replenish your energy before you head into Spring.

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For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.

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1 comment:

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Sue, I have SADS in reverse. I love grey, foggy days and rain. I don't mind a bright sunny day once in a while, but too many of them in a row get me down!