Spring is the time to do a major clean out, air the house and get ready for sunshine. Summer is the time to bask in the sunshine and dose up on Vitamin D. Autumn is the time to batten down the hatches and fatten up for winter. Winter is the time to feed your soul.
There has been much written about winter blues or winter depression with little agreeance across the field. Some researchers have gone as far as naming this seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This is a mood disorder where people with generally normal mental health experience recurrent depressive symptoms in the winter (or summer). This can include feeling sad, tired, anxious, irritable, unable to concentrate, and avoiding social events.
There are many different treatments for the winter blues, such as light therapy with sunlight or bright lights and antidepressant medication, but this article is really about old fashioned pick me up remedies for those who hate the winter and start to feel sluggish and gloomy during autumn.
Secret Acts of Kindness The act of kindness, however small, is often cited as essentially linked to real happiness. Thankfully there are a host of ways to give such as giving time and energy to others and good causes.
You've heard of Random Acts of Kindness but have you heard of Secret Acts of Kindness? This is when you do something for others without anyone knowing. If they do it doesn't count. It's not easy not to be found out but I'm sure you can think of a way.
Volunteering Our community depends on the generosity of people to give back. There are plenty of organisations looking for volunteers. The first port of call is your local council. They generally have list of possibilities. Church groups, Rotary etc. also welcome volunteers for their various projects.
If you don't have a lot of time, you can try micro volunteering. If you have between 30 seconds - 30 minutes then helpfromhome has nearly 1000 ideas.
Knit for a cause Create a knitting club for young and old to pledge small squares that can be joined together to make a blanket and donated to the Salvos. They give out about 100,000 blankets to the homeless each winter. Knitting a small square is the least you can do. If you are not a knitter, donate a jumper to the cause.
If you would like to put your knitting skills to an alternative cause and love nature The Penguin Foundation seeks knitters to make pint- pullovers for penguins who have been rescued from oil slicks.
This is a big commitment but no doubt one of the best. If you are not ready to make a commitment to foster children you could try fostering a dog or cat. As a foster carer, you care for an orphan dog or cat until a permanent home is found. I dare say that many foster carers end up enlarging their own pet family!
It's hard to give them up!
A Hearty Cook Up
I started this article saying winter is a time to feed your soul so I will finish with one related idea. Winter is the time for a big cook up. Cook up a large batch of chunky vegetable soup and fresh bread and invite a group of friends or family over for an impromptu meal. Share out the leftovers and give as take always. A hearty meal with loved ones ending with marshmallows cooked in the open fire is a night to be cherished. Spare a thought for those who don't have such advantages.
So if you need an energy boost or a reason to get up on those long cold winter days, look no further. There are many small things you can do that create a kind ripple effect. Enrich your life and the life of others by giving back.
You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.