Daily Local News (West Chester, PA)

The sun still shines somewhere

- By Terry Alburger

I always say that I love every season that we get to experience living here in Pennsylvan­ia. Indeed, each one has its perks. Flowers and new growth in spring, sunshine in summer, colorful leaves in fall and snow in winter.

But even I have to admit, not every day within each season is pleasant. Winter, at times, seems to drone on and on. Cold dreary days, with no snow in sight to divert our attention. Just frigid, gloomy, cloudy days. When the thermomete­r dips into negative numbers, there is not a lot of joy in being outside.

Some seasons are tougher than others. We are currently in the midst of a snow-less, cold winter, with even colder days to come in the forecast. We all know that this can have a negative impact on our moods and mental health. There is even a name for these winter blues — it is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.

So, if you feel a bit under the weather, beaten down by the winter doldrums, you are not alone. We are all at the beck and call of the weather. But something occurred to me that brings me a bit of hope on days filled with storms, clouds or gloom.

The sun is still shining somewhere. The sun never stops shining. It may temporaril­y be out of your line of vision, but somewhere, it is uplifting other groups of people and soon, it will return to raise your spirits as well.

While it sometimes seems like winter is the longest season, I promise this too shall pass. So what can you do to beat these winter blues? I have found that a bit of exercise or movement is great to combat the doldrums.

It doesn’t have to be anything super intensive, just get up and move around. Put a song on and dance. Or find a short workout on YouTube that appeals to you. These days, there are so many options, you’re sure to find something at your appropriat­e level and ability.

Another great way to fight these frustratin­g feelings is to plan a gettogethe­r with family or friends. Again — nothing complicate­d — maybe just a cup of coffee with an old friend.

And with the tech lessons we learned during COVID, you can even plan gatherings over social media. Zoom or Facetime are great ways to be connected to family or friends and restore smiles during bleak days.

Sometimes a great way to beat these blues is to plan for better days. It can be fun to plan a vacation, even if it is many months away.

See yourself on that beautiful beach or sitting on the edge of your favorite lake.

Daydreamin­g is free, so imagine yourself in a place you really want to go — who knows, maybe you’ll end up actually going there! And if not, the dreaming is fun.

Most importantl­y, try to find the sun. Though it may be bitter cold, if the sun decides to make an appearance, sit by any window where it enters your house.

Sunlight is such a powerful tool in beating the blues. Never underestim­ate the power of light. Some people who suffer from SAD have purchased light therapy lamps, which help counter the ill effects of the gloomy conditions.

Perhaps the most important thing is to be kind to yourself. If you want to sit on the couch and watch a marathon of your favorite show, that is OK. Everyone needs some me time sometimes. No apologies are necessary to anyone, no need to feel guilty.

The idea is to help you feel the best you can feel during some of the long dark days of winter. Find respite wherever you can. Remember that even through the worst storms, the cloudiest of days and the gloomiest of times, the sun still shines behind the clouds, and very soon it will return to our side of the clouds, restoring smiles to us all.


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