But that doesn't mean the pitfalls of this month aren't still waiting in the wings.
Like so many others, the shorter days can wreak havoc on my mood. The stuff that I manage to keep in check the rest of the year settles in and pulls up a foot stool and an electric blanket if I let it. Oh, hi, PMDD, I didn't see you there. Except I totally did. I ignored you until I couldn't and now I want to spend a week in bed. This "PMS on steroids" leaves me feeling defeated, sad and overwhelmed. Even when I have no "reason" to feel that way. There are a few ways I've found to help combat the December Blues and I'm going to record them here, mostly as a reminder to myself to do this stuff so that the happy times win and the chemically unbalanced, vitamin D deficient times give me a break.
1. Get up early. Sleeping in might be what I want to do, but getting up before the rest of the household and having some quiet time and a big mug of coffee with some time to plan my day makes all the difference. Setting the mood is key.
2. Get outside. Fresh air, a walk around the neighbourhood, a trip to the park with Lenny. These are a few of my favourite things. Except, I never remember that until I actually do them.
3. Plan. Making sure I have all of my ducks in a row makes me feel more secure. Feeling more secure makes me feel happier. It's that simple. The fear that I'm missing something is huge, especially now that I'm a) a mom and b) work for myself. Add holiday commitments to the mix and it's a lot of pressure. In my mind, true or not, missing something = abject failure. Nobody wants that.
4. Supplement. Missing the sun? Turn on that sun lamp! Take your vitamin D! Eat that orange! Get on that exercise bike! Seriously though, turn on that damn sun lamp. Now.
5. Relocate. A change of scenery can make all the difference. If I'm feeling stuck, I'll take my laptop to Starbucks and work on the couch next to the fireplace with a fancy coffee. I love working from my home office, but sometimes this is just what I need to shake off the cobwebs.
6. Turn off. The temptation to keep working late into the night is a big one. Sometimes I'll let myself. But in December, I try not to. In December, I'll try to get my work done during reasonable hours and in the evening, take the the time to enjoy the Christmas lights on our tree, the fake fireplace on the TV and the Robeau's company. See also: a glass of wine, a book, PBS Food and a to do list for the next day.
So, do things get more difficult for you in the winter, even if you love the holidays? What are your coping mechanisms for this time of year and the shorter days?