Time Management and Winter Depression

winter bluesI'll admit, I'm a bit scattered lately. Certain pre-unemployment patterns of mine are beginning to emerge, and my grander focus is getting muddied. My drive forward has slipped, and somewhere along the line, I activated the cruise control.

Things aren't bad; I'm definitely better off heading into December than I was at the beginning of November. I'm working, I've got options, there's health insurance and groceries on the table. Situations could definitely be dire had November played out differently. However, after the non-stop pursuit throughout October and November, I've allowed myself time to just go with the flow and let life happen.

Normally, I'm the kind of guy who's prone to say that sometimes, that's just what you have to do. Stop, smell the flowers, relax a bit. The problem with this lies in me, though; a week of relaxing easily turns into a month of stagnation, and then a few years of aimlessness. That's just how I am, and reflecting on my life reveals how much time I've already lost to my willingness to stand aside while I let the world dictate my path.

Right now, I'm out of balance. All the different things I'm working on have swallowed up personal time, and I've allowed myself to be distracted by busy work. I'm not working towards any of my grander goals, any of the things I discovered through the introspection directly following job loss. The sheer act of being busy is enough to distract me from the grander meaning associated with the pursuit of a career. I'm dangerously close to falling over a precipice into contentment with mindless maintenance, and I don't want to be the custodian of my life--I want to be the director.

Winter definitely isn't helping, either. Though it's been mild as far as Chicago winters go, the ratio of Illinois Gray to sunlight isn't favorable. Shortened days, freezing rain and long work hours are already making it hard to remember the last time I had to flip down a sun visor or wear sunglasses. Every year, from November through April, Illinois becomes a five-month Ingmar Bergman film festival, playing wherever there's a window. And though I love a good Bergman film, it takes its toll.

Over the past few years, I've gained an awareness of just how much the seasons affect my moods. Seasonal Affective Disorder must be a real thing, because I devolve into a slightly less enthusiastic version of Eeyore with just a hint of bloodlust directly following the first frost.

It took a long time for me to recognize that depression and winter were directly proportional, but finally I have an appreciation for it. Last winter lingered well past its welcome after hitting us extremely hard, and I barely escaped intact. During the five gloomy months of Mid-Western Ragnarok, I slept twelve hours a day, gained 50 lbs after losing 40, pissed away opportunities to carry a burgeoning comedy career to a higher level, and began professional self-sabotage that I allowed to continue through the summer and a whole new job.

So this winter, I'm going to use this whole S.A.D. situation as a motive to get organized and get back on a progressive path. I'm aware of an observable pattern, and that's the most powerful tool I've got in taking action. Short term goal: conquer the pattern. Take back life.

Step 1: next day off, vaccuum the house and do a month's worth of laundry.

Step 2: get back into the simply daily routines that powered me through unemployment. Wake up, exercise, eat. Keep it simple, keep it consistent.

Step 3: Research treatments, talk to health care professionals. Make a plan and stick to it.

Step 4: Buy The Real Ghostbusters on DVD.

Step 5: Get back on track with Big Picture Goals. Blog regularly. Eat my wheaties.

Comments

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  • Good plan! Especially step4. ;)

    Seasonal affective disorder is very interesting and probably affects many without them even knowing. Whether it be real or not, it's great that you're using this reasoning to get yourself back on track. Good for you!

    P.S.: I found this blog link through your diaspora* profile, and since it's interesting, I decided to make an account and comment. I'm not a creeper! :D

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