IMG_0517My son loves going to the dollar store. I’m sure it has something to do with knowing he might get a little something since after all, everything is just a dollar. Like lots of kids, he loves to hoard little collections. If he happens to tag along to the grocery store it is likely he will plead for a walk through the neighboring dollar store. On one such trip, he discovered those little solar powered contraptions.

The carefree parrot swung back and forth throughout the summer and fall. The seal proudly spun the ball on his nose. Then winter came. The north-facing window ledge they call home didn’t provide them with what they needed and they began to slow. The seal gave up his routine entirely.

I’m a lifelong Minnesotan. I LOVE snow. I can handle the cold. It is the darkness that nearly crushes me each winter season. This year was no different. I found myself in a funk. Everything seemed off and I couldn’t get a handle on happiness. I felt tired too much of the time, but like the parrot, I tried to just keep moving.

It was an exhausting struggling to feel like myself. Everything felt like it required more than I had to give. The less motivation I had, the self-loathing pulled me further down. It sounds so dramatic. I’m not into drama.

Something had to give. The first step for me was to acknowledge that maybe feeling this way wasn’t my fault. Next, I had to take some action. Maybe I really was like the seal and the parrot. Maybe I just needed more light. I purchased myself a Happy Light, a good book, and some fresh flowers. Things began to look up.IMG_0491

This powerful little light has turned out to be the best money I’ve spent in a long time. An hour a day sitting in front of this light has transformed my mood. If you are like me and suffer some winter blues, do yourself and those around you a favor and get one of these lights. In the month since I’ve used the light, I’ve read more, written more, logged more miles on the treadmill, cooked better food, and just plain felt better. Seriously, get one.

Life is like the weather, it has seasons. Some seasons you wish would last longer and others can’t pass soon enough. Sometimes a hard season, like one of grief, needs to last until you are ready to move forward. You hurt and that is okay. Other times though I think it is important to not stay put. You need to turn the page, you need to do yourself a favor and stop settling for the status quo.

How that is done looks different for different people. For me, it has always been good doses of sunshine, walking, and words. But sometimes when I slip into that funk I forget those simple facts. So in case, anyone reading this finds themselves in that dim place where clarity is elusive, let me remind you there is hope. You will get back to that place where the sun is warm and the wind on your face makes you feel free. Just keep swinging.


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