This is it.
The dark days are upon us.
For some people, changing the clocks is all about gaining extra time. But, for most women, it’s actually that dreaded time of the year of dealing with cranky, over-stimulated kids getting off a bus or out of a carpool, after a long day, in the dark. But more than that, I want to acknowledge the disturbing symptoms that come from the decrease of natural Vitamin D, which ultimately may decrease the serotonin levels in the brain, sometimes leading to the very serious symptoms of S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which is actually a very common disorder in this country. I have suffered it myself. And, I also know that, many of those not officially suffering from S.A.D., often are prone to feeling some type of sadness or lethargy at this time of year.
It’s not just a coincidence. Or a flaw or deficit in our biological makeup. It’s actually consistent with the energy of this time of year. It’s Mar Cheshvon. The month of bitter darkness. A month when there are no holidays to celebrate, and a huge lack of light and sunshine. Nothing in Judaism…and in life, is a coincidence. In Kaballa we learn that the world consists of both light and darkness, abundant flow and constriction, and we are not going to always feel amazing and successful and confident and glorious. But we should also not wallow in darkness, sadness, depression or fear. The point is that both are emanating from the same source: Hashem. And when we can unify the darkness with the light we are able to reach an ideal balance in life.
So how do we get there? How do we get through and bring lightness into the dark? In this month’s quote (see the sidebar of my blog), it says: “The darkness around us might somewhat light up, if we would first practice using the light we have in the place we are.” Seek something positive, in those moments of darkness, and they won’t seem so dark anymore.
I found a couple of my past blog posts that have addressed this exact issue. On October 28, 2012 I wrote this post about the darkness of this time of year:
“The darkest days of the year will soon be upon us, and I know for myself and many others, that these shorter days and their lack of sunlight can wreck havoc on our moods and energy levels. I’ve learned over the years, though, that sometimes you just have to go with it. Because honestly, trying to ‘fight it’ drains too much darn energy.
That’s why I try to embrace that feeling of coziness that comes with the tendency to hibernate during this time of year. I make sure that during the day I get in some exercise, some friend time, and some me time. I try to eat super healthy and drink my vitamins (vitamin water zero with electrolytes does wonders for a cloudy brain). But no matter what I do, towards the end of the day, I’m literally ready to get into pajamas and get cozy at home.
And speaking of a cozy home…would you ever consider painting your walls black (or any dark color)? Well, I did…and I love it! Contrary to popular opinions, dark walls can expand your space and create a wonderfully rich and glamorously enveloping feeling that’s perfect for nesting during this time of year.
I say, when the darkness arrives…go for darker, just do it glamorously. Here are some other ways to infuse your world with beautiful darkness….“see full post here.
Well, black is back! Not only on walls but in kitchens too!
Take a look at what’s new in interior design:
Then, on November 2, 2016, I wrote: 5 Ways to Go From Dark To Cozy, where I give 5 tips on how to get through these dark days.
I still love what I wrote in that post:
“The time of the changing of the clocks is swiftly heading our way…how are we to deal with the dark days ahead?
Back when my kids were little, I dreaded this time of year. I’ve always been sensitive to lack of sunlight, and the end of the yom tovim and the changing of the clocks would mean those dreaded, dark, after school, but not yet bedtime periods, when I would turn on all the lights, blast music, and throw dance parties in the living room to keep my kids, but mostly myself, from going insane. Remember, this was way before social media, so we all felt pretty isolated and stir crazy. Eventually I would give in and put on a video or computer game and let the kids space out until it was time for bath and bed time. Maybe I would actually pick up the phone that was attached to a cord in the wall, and call a friend to chat while Walt Disney or Roller Coaster Tycoon would turn my kids into zombies for just a peaceful hour or so.
Getting involved with charities and school events really helped change my perception of those days. There were lots of meetings with like-minded creative women to attend, and phone calls to keep us busy during those hours when we were juggling the kids. It gave me a sense of purpose and camaraderie outside of being a stay-at-home mom. And slowly, for me, those dreary evenings turned into cozy ones, when the lights in the house glowed, the family bustling and busy.
As the kids got older and attended school full time, there was a security in knowing that from the end of the chagim and on, our lives would be structured and scheduled. Those dark days were a sign of that blissful stretch of routined life.
I still do get affected by our long winters and lack of sunlight, but that usually doesn’t kick in until January, when I’ve pretty much had enough. Until then I relish in the coziness of autumn. Here are some of my favorite ways to take advantage of this time of year and turn these dark days into a warm and fun experience, as much as possible.”
To read my 5 tips from back then in November of 2016, click HERE.
A lot has changed for me since 2012, and even 2016. I no longer have kids at home to take care of. I am older and wise enough to realize that this dark period is very short lived, and should be embraced for its coziness, and an opportunity to just get into bed early….(ahhh bliss!) Recently my moodiness probably has less to do with the change of the yearly clock, and more to do with the change of my lifetime clock. I am now smirking at how frustrated I used to get during these seemingly endless, dark days, with the seemingly never-ending tasks of raising kids.
But, oh, how it does end.
Just like that.
So put on that music. Dance with those kids. Get into bed with them and drink hot cocoa. Don’t worry so much about your mess…or your weight. Drink more wine. Eat more chocolate. Embrace your curves. Tickle and hug the kids, and leave their faces and your kitchen a mess. Leave the load in the washer. Be imperfect. Let yourself cry a little. But then kiss your kids and laugh with them. And during the day, workout! Go to Soul Cycle. Take a yoga class. Get a massage. Take a luxurious nap. Paint a wall black.
It all goes by so fast.
Your babies will be adults in no time, telling you about how hard it is that they don’t get enough sunlight. Just enjoy every moment you’re alive.
Oh…and definitely go shopping!
Speaking of which, check out my new Amazon shop and go get yourself something fresh and white like winter white booties to brighten a drab, mostly black, winter wardrobe. (See more shoppable links below.) Here in Florida, white booties are a great way to pretend we are transitioning into a more winter-like wardrobe, even when we’re complaining and shivering because it’s only 75 degrees!
Wherever you live, black and white in the winter is divine!
So how do you cope with these darker days? Leave a comment below or send me an email. Would love to hear from you!
With loads of light and love,