A Cure for the Winter Blues
“In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me lay an invincible summer.”
Maria Rainer Rilke
Several years ago, I visited a special art exhibit of Pablo Picasso’s paintings in Paris. The show was curated around colors that reflected the artist’s mood and style during significant periods of his career. For example, the years 1901-1904 represented Picasso’s Blue Period. Every work of art was painted with shades of blues and grays. They evoke emotions of sadness, loneliness, maybe even despair. It is well documented that these paintings reflected the artist’s personal season of melancholy. I admire Picasso for channeling through his art that universal human condition of feeling blue. I am looking out my window on a cold, wintry January day. The light is short and offers very little warmth. My maple and oaks are stripped bare. The birds that normally roost in the cedars abandoned me months ago for warmer days. We are approximately 58 days away from the first day of spring. Anyone feeling a little seasonal affective disorder, aptly named SAD? Don’t worry! Picasso’s Blue period was followed shortly by his marvelous Rose period where joy leaps off the canvas. Green buds are coming!
Faced with the “Winter Blues,” we have to work harder to “light our lamps!”
Here are a couple of my favorite ways to chase joy in winter!
- Put a couple of fresh logs on the fire and invite friends over for a love muffin, a cup of tea, and meaningful conversation. Laughter is mandatory.
- Make a big pot of soup. I love my One Pot Wonder recipe in SOULFULL. It’s a hearty lentil soup that will feed many for days.
- Lose yourself in a great story, even better if it is a love story set in Paris, the English countryside, or Italy. Here are a few I have enjoyed: The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George, A Single Rose by Muriel Barberry, Bonfire Night by Anna Bliss, The Secret Book of Flora Lea by Patti Callahan Henry.
- Buy flowers at your local grocery store (I love Trader Joe’s). Arrange them in vases on the kitchen counter, your desk and dining table. Amazing how that little pop of beauty will lift your spirit.
- Enjoy dark chocolate every day. I highly recommend upgrading your coffee in the morning. I prepare the yummiest cappuccino with the perfect frothed almond milk dusted with dark chocolate.
- Set your table and light candles on an ordinary Tuesday night. Sometimes we have to elevate the mundane for a glimmer of joy.
- Move your body every single day, even better if it’s outside in nature. We need the endorphins for emotional balance.
- Order Dr. Teal’s Lavender and Chamomile Melatonin Sleep Soak and enjoy a bath.
- Google “Light” in the Bible for soul reinforcement. You will find over 200 references to the light prevailing over the darkness. My favorite is Psalm 18:28: You, God, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light and John 1:5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness shall not overcome it.
- Follow Picasso’s lead and channel your emotions in a creative way. Pick up a paint brush, journal, try a new recipe, prep your spring garden, pick something you are curious about and research it! For example, I am reading everything I can right now about our solar system. Did you know that there are planets that rain diamonds?
- Listen to music. Check out my “Live in Hope” playlist on Spotify. I have it on repeat. Listen below!
- Do something kind for another. Miraculous how the smallest gestures of love pull people (and you along with them) out of the shadows and back into the light.
Have a blessed week!
***The Blue Room by Pablo Picasso, 1901***