How To Tuesday: Five Ways to Punch Seasonal Depression in the Face

Confession:  I get the winter blahs.  Hard.

I was born in the Springtime.  I feel the most myself when Nature is blossoming around me, when the birds are singing, when the sun is shining.  You know, just like this chick…

Snow White thinks seasonal depression sucks, too.


Whenever I hear that turn-your-clocks-back-“Fall Back” thing – I think of getting pushed down a flight of stairs backwards.

Keep in mind, I am also the girl who spent the entire summer of 2012 barely wearing clothes and now I’m bundled up in forty billion layers and feel like the kid from Christmas Story.  You know what I’m talking about….


Seriously. Don’t push me over when I get bundled up in a billion pounds of winter clothes. I might not be able to get up.

But here’s the deal. I love New York City.  Love it.  It’s my dreamland. So I gotta figure out this winter thing.  Only recently have I realized that there is way more people out there that are affected by this whole not getting enough sunshine thing than I thought.

Case in point:  My neighbors put this in front of their building yesterday.

On the walk to my favorite coffee hangout this morning, I looked up and realized that someone tied this bunch of flowers to a bare tree.  I really appreciated it.  Thank you, Stranger, who did this.  You made me smile.

Just yesterday, my dear friend and Radical Self Love Queen, Gala Darling wrote about how she copes with beating the winter blues.  I’m taking note! Everything she writes is a must read.

Me and one of my fav people on the face of the planet, Miss Gala Darling. Raven haired girls UNITE!


So, over coffee moments ago,  me and my kickass roommate Kim Boekbinder, were talking about different ways to beat the dumb days, and here are mine.  They might seem weird, they might help you, you might get a good laugh out of them. Here they are:

Image by Serge Bloch/New York Times

1. I dab a little bit of sunscreen under my nose.

Yeah. I’m crazy.  But I’m crazy with a purpose.  It’s double duty because – one it’s a good moisturizer, but more importantly, two, when I smell sunscreen, it triggers Summertime in my memory, and it makes me feel better. It has been proven time and time again that certain smells can improve your mood – don’t believe me? Read this interesting New York Times Article The Nose, An Emotional Time Machine by Natalie Angier.

2.  I indulge in a twice a day coffee hangout with my friends. 

Kim and I started our day off  this morning in the sunny alcove of our favorite coffee place.  In the wintertime, I bump my coffee intake to two cups a day.  I really dig lattes and cappuccinos with lots of nutmeg and cinnamon.  And….check this out….research from the Harvard Medical School team shows that women who drink two or more cups of coffee a day are less likely to be depressed.  This article in the BBC News said that caffeine has “a physical effect on brain function and transmission by altering chemical pathways” and that caffeine is “known to enhance feelings of well-being and energy”.

Hell, yes.  Another cup of that, please!

3.  I trust animal instinct.   

This is my little dog, Niney, in the sunrise this morning. She follows the sun all over our apartment.  She’s been getting up earlier than normal to catch the sunlight longer, and I’ve been following her.  Getting sunlight helps boost our serotonin levels.  Serotonin is that hormone associated with energy and elevated mood and I kind of want to fill my whole freezing cold body with it.  In the past week, I’ve been waking up early and taking extra walks with Niney.  I seek out the sunny streets of Brooklyn.

4.  Happy Colors.  Give them to me.  Now. 

It may sound silly, but it’s backed by science, People!  And science is cool.  Check out this awesome Huffington Post Article for interesting color mood meanings.  Or perhaps I should show you my favorite winter coat of all time:

Me and my favorite pink faux fur coat. It gave me many winters of happiness before it was lost in the fire of 2011. Pink Coat Forever.


And just looking at Kim’s pink hair and that kick-ass turquoise color from Sugarpill on Kim’s eyes makes me want to sing a song of happiness.

5. I get a Gel Manicure.

There is nothing scientific to back this. It’s just that I look down at my nails a billion times a day – to write, to pick stuff up, to grab my coffee, to shake hands with someone, etc. When my nails are all bitten down to the quick and gross, I register that. I register it subliminally probably 20 times a day. I noticed that when I get a gel manicure – it lasts for 3 weeks and my nails look perfect. I just got one the other day and several times unexpectedly, I’ve looked down and then I see this pretty glamour deep red and feel uplifted. Like, damn, I’m presentable! I’m taking care of myself! Red nails! In winter! Yes!

Kim would like to add, “Get ridiculous mittens.” She’s got these cool ones with lamb faces on it and she said it makes her smile every time she looks down. They make me smile, too. I want a puppet show.

And if you can’t beat Winter, join it. 

In the darkness of winter, most times, I’m cuddling in my little secret nook in my apartment, decorated with happy Christmas lights and a window looking out to the twinkling lights of the city.  I’m using this dark time to plant some gorgeous seeds for the future.  In the winter darkness, I’ve been writing way more.  Fuck it.  If it’s dark and cold and I don’t feel like going outside, I’m declaring Winter of 2012 to be Creative Awesomeness or something.  I’ve been:

  • working on this blog (thank you reading this.  sincerely.  your comments, shares and RTs boost my mood more than you know.  I’m digging this relationship of ours.  Hard.)
  • finishing my book proposal for “The Danger Diaries”
  • working on a whole hot, new schedule of classes (in-person and on-line!)
  • crafting my true life stories to tell at the Moth (my new addiction).

So if you get the winter blues, too, know you’re not alone.  And if you’re anywhere near Brooklyn, let’s get a cup of coffee together.

And if you’re not, well…pretend we’re rocking this together….Cheers!

Now you tell me the inventive ways you deal with the dark days of winter!  I wanna know.

xoxoxoox Veronica


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