’Tis the Season of Rest: The Wonder of Winter (Part II)

Last week we talked about how to get our bodies ready for the long winter season and now let’s consider how to maintain a strong, healthy mind during this cold, dark season. The limited daylight hours bring a winter woe known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, a form of depression that, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, affects more than 10 million Americans every winter.

Shorter days mean less natural sunlight, which can initiate biochemical changes in the brain, resulting in anxiety, lack of concentration, less energy, and depression. So, ban the blahs, and soak up the sun at every opportunity! Just a couple of daily 10-15 minute outings can re-energize your mental state.

The shift in our physical and mental energies during this season often mislead us into thinking we may be depressed, when we are actually in tune with the rhythm of winter.  This is nature’s resting season, and usually, most of us don’t re-set our internal clocks to adjust our biological rhythms to the pace of the current season. I’ve found it takes practice and prayer to maintain my world-driven schedule during winter’s slower pace. When I do achieve the new rhythm, my sense of inner calm and outer “got-it-together” is my best protection against seasonal depression.

This week meditate on Philippians 4:8 (NIV) which says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” Don’t allow the winter to bring in the seasonal depression but keep your mind fixed on Jesus the Author and Finisher of your faith.

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