Winter sucks the life out of me. In January, it rained every single day. Okay, there were two days it didn’t rain in Oregon that LONG month, but the sun didn’t break through the clouds on those days.
Talk about severe Vitamin D deficiency…and I take 10,000 IUs each day. And sit in front of my therapy light for thirty to sixty minutes.
None of it helped.
You know what did? Bowling.
Yes, I said bowling helped with my depression this winter. I’m not here to tell you that bowling is a cure-all because on non-bowling days, I still struggled against the downward pull of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and the diagnosis of chronic depression that I’ve been fighting with only natural means since this past summer.
Get Out of the House
My prescription for fighting depression is more like: “Get out of the house. Don’t give in to the lack of motivation.”
And that’s why bowling worked for me.
If you’ve followed me long, you know that I’m an author, freelance editor/proofreader and substitute teacher. Two of these three jobs keep me in the house, and it’s easy enough to turn away the calls for the other one when winter’s blues overwhelm me.
But once I gave my word to my bowling teammates, I couldn’t go back on that. They were counting on me to show up every Tuesday morning wearing my team shirt and a smile.
New Hobbies Work Like Magic
When you don’t feel like getting out of bed because of a chronic condition, you certainly aren’t thinking of starting something new. I mean, really? That would take too much effort.
I’ve been wanting to do this paint night thing for awhile, but I’m not a painter. I couldn’t draw myself out of a box, and someone thinks they can hand me a paintbrush and blank canvas and at the end of two hours I’ll have a finished work of art?
But I was willing to give it a try. Here’s the end result.
I didn’t want to go it alone, so thankfully I had a friend who’d been wanting to try it. Both of us are sold on the way these classes work. We’re ready to try it again.
Yes, I did this in the dead of winter. I did it on a day I didn’t want to put pants on.
Because sometimes trying something new is exactly the shot of adrenaline a sagging spirit needs to soar.
Even Introverts Can Be a Team Player
Here’s the thing, I’ve always preferred team sports over solo sports. There’s a weightiness that I like in interdependence. Yes, I’m an independent person but it’s nice to be able to rely on other people.
You know, like you do your family.
And that’s what my cousin, Dani, and her cousin, Jennie, have offered me in the Baker’s Dozen bowling league every Tuesday morning. It’s not just a reason to get out of bed and put pants on anymore. They want me there (and it isn’t because I’m an excellent bowler).
Introverts like me feel much more comfortable sitting behind a desk. I’d rather communicate through the written word (like I’m doing right now with this blog post).
But numerous high fives and going from last place to first place (and now second place) in the bowling league is it’s own form of “winter therapy.” Being part of a team expands my world. It gets me outside of myself and forces me to consider others.
That’s a good thing. In fact, that’s a God thing.
And since I can’t remember the last time I dressed up for Halloween (before this year’s bowling Halloween party that is), it’s a really therapeutic way for someone suffering from chronic illness to focus on something else.
What are your interests? Are you willing to move outside your comfort zone to find something that could be the remedy for what ails you?