Welcoming 2023: Seven Tips for Beating Winter Sorrow

Winter Trees

I’m baaaaaaccccckkkk! 

So, 2023?

Here we are and I can’t say that I am feeling all the “new newness” of the year. I want to. I am trying to, but I can’t seem to get my head in the game. In fact, I spent the first days of the year “in a funk,” as my mom and baby sister would say. A million things to do. Too many ideas floating around in my head. “Goings on” I would normally be excited about. I just could not get myself motivated to do anything. 

I blame “wintercearig”–winter sorrow–a feeling of downheartedness or despondency caused by or as desolate as the depths of winter. You can read all about the Anglo-Saxon word on the Haggard Hawks blog. Wintercearig perfectly captures the impact of the winter season. 

I don’t think I suffer from “seasonal affective disorder,” but December brought two or three weeks (straight) of dreary, rainy weather followed by insanely cold temperatures.

Temp Dec

Actual temperature two days before Christmas–and I had done very little preparation. 

Considering this is the South, it was downright disrespectful. It seemed everyone’s spirits suffered. My own bones were so steeped in “winter sorrow” that I had to fake my way through the holidays. 

When I was facing the return to work last week, I struggled. I literally begged God to lift my spirits. I had things to do, after all!

An agonizing day later, my Bible study took me to Philippians 3:13-14:

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Even though the verses have different meanings, I stalled at the phrase “press on” and accepted the Divine instruction to press. As much as I would have loved to lie on the sofa under a comfy throw and binge-watch “whatever,” I was well aware of the reality:

We have responsibilities that we cannot ignore and we can’t always “lie down” and succumb to our feelings. Sometimes, we have to “press on” no matter what. So, I sat down and scribbled some ideas in my journal to help get me through the day–ideas for “pressing” on when we lack motivation, when we’re weary, and when we’re simply “in a funk.” 

  1. First things first: Get up and move. Do something. Walk. Run. Dance. Clean your house. Chop some wood. Just move. Don’t allow yourself to sit and wallow.
  2. If you’re anything like me, when you don’t feel like doing anything, staring at a long list of tasks to be completed is enough to send you into a state of depression. Sometimes, you have to place the lengthy list in a drawer and make a new list of the absolutely must-dos and hit that list hard and fast—one by one. Task by task is key to not overwhelming yourself and running in the opposite direction. Pro tip: When you’re “in a funk,” even the smallest task, expectation, or obligation can feel impossible, so pray your way through every movement and remind yourself, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” 
  3. Make a piping hot cup of tea and sip slowly while listening to some cool jazz or your favorite music. Yes, tea is the answer to almost everything. 😉

  4. And while we’re on the subject of music. Create a playlist of your upbeat favs and sing along loudly and off key. There’s nothing like giving your abdominals a good workout to improve mood. I’m sure there’s some physiological explanation for that, but I’ll let the music therapists address the topic.

  5. Do something bright and colorful! Throw paint around. Play with stickers. Write a cheerful ditty or postcard. Do something that brings out your inner creative or inner child.

  6. Dial a friend. A funny one. One who is lighthearted and free and who will not allow you to remain in the doldrums.

  7. Plan a reward for yourself—a nap (my favorite reward), a new book, a pretty pen—something you can enjoy when you break free of your “downward” mood.

These all work for me, but what do you do when faced with all the icky, sluggish feelings that descend from time to time? Share in the comments.

Until next time…

May 2023 be good to thee. 😉

14 thoughts on “Welcoming 2023: Seven Tips for Beating Winter Sorrow

  1. Manu says:

    Happy New year Chandra. I too found myself in a funk at the start of the year. Struggled to have any motivation to get things done. I had to focus on small steps, things to get done at intervals so as not to feel overwhelmed but at the end of the day I realised that way I ended up getting a few things done and it helped.
    Hope this year is great for you too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. CHRISTINE Brooks says:

    I ear you and feel for you. I was hoping the seasonal break would have been restorative. I have been on a Roller Coaster ride of depression and exhaustion. All is fine in my circle but the world is just too much. I can’t seem to find joy or resolve. The only way out of it is to think of those less fortunate, and making a gratitude list, but truthfully I think a big cry would help. I hope 2023 will brings us both more than we every dreamed of. Peace to you Christine

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Natasha says:

    Dear Chandra,

    Your words always speak to our soul. So when I’m down in the dumps, nursing SADs I make this lovely Yule tea that I am sharing, Promise you it’s great. It pulled me out of my misery in December.

    https://natashamusing.com/2022/12/st-nicholas-is-in-town-winter-solstice-christmas-yule/

    I also listen to soul stirring music, walk in nature, hug trees, walk bare-feet (in spring and summers) that helps with the grounding, talk to that one specific tree I hug all the time -it’s a mulberry tree, watch nature pass by, go birding, read a cosy, wholesome book, get outdoors and get some sun on my back (if it shows up that is), go and work from a cafe, practise yoga and meditate, make an easy meal (if I’m upto it), meet or call a friend who is a pick me up, also declutter a small space like a drawer, garden- it helps hugely, journal, write on my blog, and focus on my breath and loads of gratitude. I recently got back to writing in a new gratitude journal, morning and evening.

    Sorry it’s a long list, But it really helps get rid of the moroseness and melancholy.

    Thanks for writing this post. Bet it will help many.

    Love and wishes for a kind 2023, and may your cup brim with joy and good things.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. connie fogle says:

    January 12th and I am still slogging through. There were some things I was hoping to leave behind in 2022 however, this is not to be. Putting one foot in dmfront of the other. Lots of people seems to be going through the same mental funk. Onward and upward.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sheila Marie Delgado says:

    I am printing this, and posting it by my desk. To remind me when it hits, that I am not alone. 🙂 Thank you, Chandra. Your soul sharing gave me a… deep sigh of relief. I think the weather has been a large part of it. We didn’t really have a “Fall”. We went straight to cold, and it has stayed very cold, for a long time. But goodness, not as cold as you have been! I have wanted to stay under the covers, or under a throw, wrapped up. 2 pairs of socks, and a heavy oversized sweater are part of my daily, uniform. Haha. 1. I forced myself to get up and organize. Ended up cleaning all day, and boy, was I sleepy at the end. A good sleepy though, Not a sad sleepy. 2. I changed my list, made it for the month, instead of the next six or eight. Haha. 3. I was craving a pink cake at the beginning of the year. So I had some pink cake. Can’t remember the last time I had cake. I need to work on 4 & 5. 6. A friend called me, and we laughed a lot. And yeah… I felt so much better after that. 7. I have been napping more than usual. (but that is the Lupus.) I have to admit that lately, it is my favorite “treat”. Haha. Huge bear hug, and prayers, and “Thank you, my friend.”

    Like

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