I live in a climate that has amazing warm months, but a terrible long, cold winter. I started my sober journey in May, and by the time July hit I was still sober, but the long cold winter was really getting me down and I realised it was time for some self care in my early sobriety.
The winter blues really are something, I’ve lived in Melbourne for 6 years and every year I am better prepared for the cold, but the lack of sunlight, the lack of vitamin d, and the cold do get me down. When I’m cold, I find it incredibly hard to get motivated. As a mum, I have defaulted to TV and iPads for my kids in pursuit of an indoor activity, not ideal parenting.
My husband and I had planned a holiday for late July / August, but I decided to bring it forward a couple of weeks to escape the cold, it was the best decision ever. So far I have been in the Queensland ‘winter’ for 2.5 weeks and my mood has lifted instantaneously. I’ve been taking Zoloft for a few weeks and this is probably taking effect, but I have felt my mood lift by being in good weather.
I initially thought that the warmer weather would be a trigger for drinking, because in the past I have consumed a lot of beers in hot weather, but I haven’t even been driven to touch a drink. I’ve been indulging in a lot of self care, long walks along the beach, playing with my kids, reading books and going to the gym.
I’ve even felt with the summer, that my diet has improved (although it was good to begin with). But the biggest thing I’m proud of in this journey, is that I haven’t craved a drink. Don’t get me wrong, some days I have been dreaming about it, but not once have I been tempted to pick up a beverage. Perhaps it is the thought of the calories in the glass, or even just that my sobriety means so much to me, but I don’t want to compromise the work of the past 2 months.
What can we do for self care?
Not everyone can escape for a holiday in early sobriety, but self care is important and there are plenty of things we can do to aid ourselves. Self Care is often referred to as any activity that can improve energy. This can include doing things like:
- Eating healthy
- Going for a walk
- Enjoying a coffee or a meal
- Doing anything we love
The research behind self care is sound, and this is really something that as an alcoholic we often neglected. We didn’t spend enough time on doing positive things to improve our mental health and energy, we simply medicated with alcohol.