On the day I am writing, my Boxer-pitbull-and-God-knows-what, Thor, is curled up on the couch. We put him outside this morning before the rain and sleet hit. The forecast called for a wintry mix today and while we’ve yet to see snow, the sub-freezing temperatures have formed ice on the roads and shut down this Southeastern city.

Both David and I work from home, so we could spend this day in normal work activity. But like my sweet dog, the cold and wet has me feeling lethargic. Instead of pushing through into a normal workload, I am going to take an early afternoon nap. Is this laziness? A lack of self-discipline?

In the wintertime, my bipolar can lead me into seasonal depression. We could learn a thing or to from the animals about how to handle frigid air and fewer sunlit hours. While depression would have me in complete hibernation, a gentler way of life can help keep the balance. Here are 4 ways to banish seasonal blues.

  1. Slow down. Be satisfied with what you can accomplish in a day and listen to your body so that you don’t reach a breaking point. If your body wants to sleep an extra hour in the wintertime, let it. Go to bed earlier or take a nap to work in additional rest. Even 20 minutes can make a world of difference.
  2. Savor. Reward yourself with relaxing activities. Reading, meditation, hobbies, good conversation and restorative exercise like yoga can be both calming and energizing without placing strain on your mind and body.
  3. Nourish. Take detox baths with Epsom or sea salts and a few drops of lavender essential oil. Eat seasonal produce like roasted root vegetable and organic leafy greens. Cook with good fats like grass-fed butter and coconut oil, and make comforting soups with homemade bone broth.
  4. Live gracefully. This one applies to every season. It’s not possible to follow healing choices all the time. We have been given an abundant life in a radically broken world. Receive God’s grace and affirmation, and give back that grace to yourself and to others–even when we fall short.

These simple steps can help you fall in step with your own rhythms and the pulse of the world around you. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to take a long winter’s nap.