How To Handle The Winter Blues
I don’t know about you, but the winter blues have definitely hit me. Hard. I started off January really excited for the year ahead of me, and then the snow came, and it kept falling. And falling.
Now it’s February and I’m not as excited about the year anymore. I’m not one for winter or winter activities, so I just try to hibernate until the winter is over. But we don’t have to be completely miserable all winter, right?
Cold weather-related pain
I only started to notice this year that the cold weather increases my pain. It’s really quite annoying. I’ve had increased pain since around November now, and it doesn’t seem to get easier to deal with as time goes on.
Heat has been my absolute best friend for this winter-related pain. I use my heating pad, hot packs, hot baths, and my heated blanket. Heat heat heat. I really do love the heat. It may not help long term, but in the short term, it keeps me warm and gives me a little relief. That’s all I can ask for this winter.
I’ve been hit with seasonal depression for many years now. All of the grey skies and snowy days really take a toll on my mental health. I thrive in the warm, sunny weather. The winter days where we get sun are as close as we get.
I’m not going to lie and act like I have the perfect answer for seasonal depression because I don’t. I’m just going through it like you might be, too. A lot of days the depression and the pain cause me fatigue, so a lot of the time I stay in bed most of the day.
I prioritize rest
Sometimes I’ll start my day at 4 pm. I’m not ashamed of that, it’s just something I have to do to be able to even get out of bed. I need to rest for half of the day and then take it easy for the second half. I don’t work right now due to pain, so I know that’s not an option for everybody. Just rest when you can, because overdoing it will only make it worse.
If there’s one thing we all are when we’re depressed, it’s too hard on ourselves. Try to remember that you’re fighting a disease plus the weather, so it’s okay to take it easy and not do much for a while.
What can we all do?
My most important goal this year was to take care of myself and listen to my body. When the winter blues hit, just know that they won’t last forever and the sun is going to shine again. I promise you that.
Take care of yourself, rest when you can/need to, and take it easy. There’s only one you, and you’re important! The pain and the blues won’t last forever! Soon we’ll be sitting outside wearing our sunglasses instead of sitting inside wrapped up in our blanket burritos!
Other than back pain and fatigue, what is the most common symptom that AS patients experience?