Inevitably, Lake Tahoe’s summer has come to its conclusion. The aspen leaves have migrated to their winter home in the soil, hibernating until the spring. The bears dig through our trash, ignoring the gentle lullaby of their biological calling, impatiently beckoning them to succumb to their natural, sleepy slumber.
The siren song that nature sings as each season changes is also luring us inside to enjoy the cozy crackling of the fireplace, which we bring to roaring life earlier and earlier each day. As the sun drops with increasing urgency behind the towering pass, and the sharp wind infiltrates our sweaters, some people begin to feel a certain sadness creep into their psyche. Some feel it in their knees, some feel it in their souls. Is there a way to cope with these winter blues? Even in Tahoe? Yes. Stop complaining.
They say you can make a plant healthier just by thinking good thoughts about it, so first things first: think positive. Perspective shapes our reality. Rather than thinking, “Oh no, it’s dark so early. This is miserable,” flip the script and instead think, “I’m going to go to bed on time and start tomorrow early!” Rather than, “Shucks, I can’t mountain bike after work and post about it on Instagram,” how about thinking, “Wow, I’m going to use this time to get my shit together and stop running from my problems with extreme sports.”
Get more sun. The amount of sun we are exposed to not only regulates our biological clock, but also maintains our serotonin and melatonin levels, whatever that means. If you’re basically an indentured servant to a stuffy office and sun exposure is out of the question, brighten up your environment. Open your blinds, sit close to the window, poke a hole in your cubicle, or buy one of those artificial light boxes from Amaz— … a local vendor. If none of that is possible, eat some vitamin D pills and hope for the best.
Whether the sun is out or not, walk around the block, smell the air, and feel the breeze. Be one with the cold. We were all gifted the ability to experience our environment, so make the most of it. Go out with friends. Find a new hobby. According to the thrilling slew of articles vying for a good ranking on Google, uphill skiing is hot. Personally, I think it looks super boring and tiresome, but who knows, I might try it on a cloudy day after I run out of my vitamin D pills.
Speaking of uphill skiing, another good way to beat the winter blues is to get plenty of exercise. I get it, going to the gym at 5 in the afternoon when it is completely dark outside is not the most enticing activity, but they say that 30 minutes of exercise per day keeps the doctor away. You know what else keeps the doctor away? Meditation. Personally I can’t do it, but I hear it’s like the “thinking about the plant thing” discussed earlier.
I can joke about the winter blues because I feel the winter blues. Darkness and I don’t work well together. There are enough things out there that have the ability to bring us down, from social media envy to injuries to general life happenings. Life is chaos. One thing that is for certain, at least for the time being, however, is the cold, dark winters we get to enjoy here in Tahoe. Since we can’t change it, let’s make the most of it. YOLO.
–It is important to note that the “winter blues” are different from the more serious condition, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which can be a more urgent and serious condition. If you feel that you may be experiencing symptoms of SAD or other mental health issues, please contact your local health care services. If you’re experiencing thoughts of suicide, contact the
National Suicide Prevention
Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.