Thursday, February 25, 2016

Winter Blues

The cold weather and snow have given me too much time to think and debate
my commitment to homeschooling, religion, and life in general.  I've spent hours analyzing the very foundations of my belief system and the correlating impact on the decisions I've made thus far. Mortality, humanity, God/no God, free will, responsibility, and the meaning of it all has consumed me. Hopefully, it's pushing me to live more authentically and come to terms with what it means to be mom, wife, me, and human. Or I just have too much time on my hands. I just want to add, to a true South Carolina girl, this much snow is unnatural.

Is it an existential anxiety, the winter blues, or seasonal affective disorder?

Seriously, I self-identify as suffering from existential anxiety. Why? Because I'm just that deep. Not really, but I do question my existence and the value of this life on a pretty regular basis. Just a quick search on existentialism and existential anxiety was quite interesting. If you are suffering from major depression or thoughts of suicide and death not of the questioning your mortality type, please seek help. *Check out the link about SAD for more information. I have too many thoughts flying around in my head affecting my sleep.  So, I need ways to step outside myself and otherwise occupy my mind and body. Either way, the weather has me taking myself way too seriously.

Connect with others. We volunteered with Serve Our Willing Warrior, a retreat center for wounded, ill, or injured armed service members in the recovery process. We had a great experience helping prep the house for upcoming guests at the center. I didn't know my children could clean that well, which set a new standard for our house. Check out http://www.willingwarriors.org/our_mission for more information. Hopefully, we're able to make it a regular occurrence. Also, we made it a point  to support a child's friend at his basketball game. It was great for the moms to just sit around afterwards and chat. I considered unplugging from FaceBook for a while, but it's a great way to keep up with ideas, activities, and the homeschooling/unschooling world. Also, I'm reaching out to others more, just to share a words of encouragement whether through cards or giving my information to new parents considering homeschooling.

Spring clean. I'm purging our house of the books and papers we've accumulated over the winter. A decluttered house always makes me think better. I've purchased houseplants and just tried to pep things up a bit.

Get back to nature. This past warm day I just sat on the deck for 2-3 hours soaking in the sun and rejuvenating. We're already looking forward to gardening. On warmer days, I just stand and watch the birds flitting around the backyard. We have new visitors, woodpeckers. It propelled me to jump back into our natural history project by cataloging the animals we observe visiting our yard and local parks. I started feeling all Thoreau-like and checked "Walden" out of the library. My dream is the escape to a cabin in the woods by a nice, little pond and soak up the solitude.

Plan for the future. Looking forward gives me hope, even if it's just planning a family vacation or a sewing project. I have a point to direct my attention. Right now, I hope to plan a trip with my siblings and any family to just hang out and connect. I'm a thinker and planner, and not much of a doer. But, my goal is to walk out my desires regardless of how imperfect they might seem.

Learn something new. I decided to check  Coursera for courses I'd normally overlook, which led me to "Introduction to Game Design." Now, I love board games, but not so much video games. I'm going through another course, "How to Create a Comic Books," with one of my sons as well. I added "Creative writing: The Craft of Plot" to jumpstart the ideas rolling around in my head.

Exercise, sleep, and healthy eating. I don't do cold weather. If I could hibernate during the winter months I would. I got a treadmill for my birthday, and started back weightlifting. I'm sleeping better, as well as more conscious of what I'm eating. I'm energized, and it shows when I feel the healthiest possible.

Read something new. I'm always willing to broaden my knowledge base. So, I'm reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, The Hero with an African Face: Mythic Wisdom of Tarditional Africa by Clyde W. Ford, and The Gift of Imperfection by Brené Brown.

Revisit old favorites. In honor of Black Histiory month, I joined a book club reading The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson. It's been years since I've read this book. If this is not a manifesto to homeshooling/unschooling I don't know what it.

*Take a break. This is probably the most important tip. We all need to rest. Our lives can become filled with activities so quickly. We have band, dance, football conditioning, figure skating, basketball games/practices, church, time with friends, and volunteer time. This is keeping it simple for us.  Right now, we're on a much needed winter break.

How do you beat those winter blues?


Check out http://www.livestrong.com/article/138049-what-is-existential-anxiety/ or http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/basics/symptoms/con-20021047 for more information.