Monday, November 24, 2008

On My Mind: The Winter Blues and Its Cures

What a difference 20 days makes. Last time I posted, I was on a high from Election Day. Since then, the following circumstances have killed my buzz:
  • Just when you thought it could sink no further, the market fell another 1000+ points. My stock portfolio has now lost half its value, which means a> I feel poor and b> I am poor. The upshot of this is I have less disposable income for spending on two of my favorite NYC past times and blog inspirations: eating out and shopping. All the retailers are slashing prices like crazy, but this Girl Next Door won't even walk into a store to avoid the temptation to spend.
  • The temperatures with wind chill have dropped into the single digits, effectively killing movie night or weekend exploration. A movie's got to be damn well-reviewed to get me out of the house on the weekend, and it's too damn cold to be walking around aimlessly. The upshot: I am now more house-bound than ever. I really hate cold wearther.
  • I, like so many others, am feeling down about my career. My industry is laying people off right and left, making less money than ever and generally gripped by fear. An already tough line of work may be getting even tougher.
  • The days have gotten too damn short. It's pitch black at 4:30 pm.
Anyhow, I'm back and climbing back from the post-election/onset of winter blues. Here's how:

The cure to feeling poor is appreciating what you have. I'm keeping a gratitude journal...and cooking delicious dinners at home more often. Last week, I cooked dinner every day of the week. I know, big whup. But I live in Manhattan, my friend, and I consider this a feat.

The cure to being housebound your house. Did that yesterday. Got on my hands and knees and scrubbed the tiles even. Felt good. Felt in control. Board games and card games are my next project to keep me and City Guy entertained. I could also just bundle up and leave the house...

The cure to career insecurity? Reading about people like cookbook authors Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, who raised two boys while traveling the world and eating....oh and occasionally writing to support their lifestyle. Featured in last week's New Yorker (registration required). Alternately, I'm vowing to try harder, persevere, keep learning.

The cure to short days and the maddening lack of light? A light box. Recommended by my doctor, I recently bought the Apollo Go Lite P2. I love this little thing. It's about the size of a paper back book and brings sunshine into your life, even when it's dark, overcast and dreary outside. Seriously. I love this thing. 20 minutes a day at breakfast, and I'm good.

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