Writing Healthy

Featuring Jill Phoenix

Winter Blahs and Practicing Mindfullness

I do not normally feel like I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (appropriately called SAD) or even depression in general. I like to refer to myself as a white knuckle optimist, and that even if things are going  to shite, “Well, we’d never get such a spectacular view from home.”

Mindfulness is cultivating an awareness of the present moment. It can be as simple as stopping and focusing on the task at hand, or on the natural world around you, or on your own breathing. Redirecting your focus to the now helps dispel anxiety about the future. It can also help you stay safe. When I may feel anxious, fearful, and desperate for all of this to be over,  I remember to drop into the moment and practice Mindfulness.
-Jill Phoenix, Wellness Coach


Enter 2020: Destroyer of Worlds

This year, like last year, is special. If you’re living in a place where the pandemic has hit hard, this has been a difficult winter, a dark winter. Even though I normally cherish this time of stillness and rest, lately I have felt melancholy, lethargic and very much like I am in a weird version of Ground Hog day. Even my youngest bonus son, M of MALT house, said the other day, “I’m ready for winter and the pandemic to be over.”

Try making a mindfulness exercise out of washing your hands or listening to the sound your breath makes when wearing a mask. 
-Jill Phoenix, Wellness Coach

And as much as my heart aches for the missing year M and L of MALT house, I am grateful for all of the extra time I got with them in 2020 (Side note, I recently learned the term ‘bonus’ instead of step so hence my bonus-sons M and L…) They are in their late teens, a time usually abundant with friends and socializing. Technology has helped but there is nothing quite like hanging out IRL and not online. I can see even this ‘blah’ as well as the looming sadness that is this pandemic and it’s indelible mark infiltrating their resilient and normally cheerful dispositions. And my bonus kids are resilient. They have had to be, but this last year has been tough. A big life changer.

Banish the Blahs with Gratitude and Prioritize Your Health Like It’s Your Job

It is easy to say you don’t have enough time, but if you make yourself a priority on your to do list, then you will find a way to eat healthier and move your body. Prioritizing time to exercise or meditate by putting it on your schedule and protecting that time as if it were your job, is going to make a huge difference to your mental health.
-Jill Phoenix Wellness Coach

Exercise is an obvious one. But did you know something as simple as schedule can keep the blahs at bay?

  • Set a routine. Feeling like one day melts into the next? A daily schedule can help. I started this in January and I write the weekly schedule on the fridge every Sunday, with everyone’s school, work, and work from home schedule and household goals.
  • Set small daily goals and build on them as you accomplish them. Every goal you meet contributes to a feeling of accomplishment and positivity. I do this almost everyday!
  • Exercise and body movement boosts serotonin. A walk in the sunshine, or forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku as it is called in Japan, can have mood boosting affects as well. Lately it has been too cold for walks, so I have been doing yoga in my room in the morning! This week is looking sunnier, and I am planning some hikes with friends!
  • Get enough rest. If you are having difficulty sleeping, it may already be affecting your mood. What can you do? Start by making some changes, and commit to a sleep routine. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, remove distractions like TV or computer from the bedroom. I have definitely adopted a sleep routine, and Peaches and Bella, my cat and dog, have held me to my wake up time, since they love to be fed promptly at 7am.
  • Meditation to change negative thought patterns. Challenge your negative thought patterns! With depression, a lot of the work is mental and it’s important to change how you think. My favorite guru on positive mental thought patterns and positive self-speak is Louisa Hay.
  • Eat healthy! Eat your veggies! Nothing definitive but some studies suggest that foods with high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon and tuna) and folic acid (such as spinach and avocado) could help ease depression.
  • Do something new. Depression often comes from being “stuck in a rut” and that is definitely what it feels like right now! I am starting some new projects around the house that have nothing to do with writing or hair, to challenge my brain and get it thinking in another way. Already the thought of my new project is helping me banish the blahs!
To practice mindfullness this year I have started each day writing one word down that describes something that I am grateful for. This can be as simple as coffee, sunshine, safe water to drink, heat, even t.v. as it has kept a lot of us company this year. Mine has my dog Luna’s name over, and over!
-Jill Phoenix, Wellness Coach

Until next time writers, keep writing healthy and try these lifestyle tips to keep the end of winter blahs at bay…

 Did you know?

Jill can help you structure your day, achieve your goals, build healthy habits and find exercises that fit into your schedule to help you be a better you in 2021. To find out more visit her website.