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Filush-Glaze: Coping with the ‘darkness’
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Filush-Glaze: Coping with the ‘darkness’

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Filush-Glaze: Coping with the ‘darkness’

Jenny Filush-Glaze

Well, here we are, another Daylight Savings time behind our belts as we attempt to adjust to earlier evenings.

The winter months are quickly approaching, and with it, for some, are challenges that can create some pretty tough moments in terms of mood and motivation.

Often referred to as “The Winter Blues,” the shortening of days and the early nights tends to have a huge impact on those who require vast amounts of daylight to function at their best. In fact, many share that it is during this time of year that they tend to fall into some pretty disheartening habits, like coming home from work and immediately donning some comfy pajamas while preparing for bed (even though it is only 5 o’clock). They speak of “lack of energy and motivation” and note that the change in weather, along with the darkness makes them feel “depressed.”

One thing we need to note here is that this is a phenomenon that occurs every year, so those that are seasonally affected are often aware and are already preparing for how to “get by” the best they know how. Unfortunately, those who are newly grieving are often blindsided by how suddenly the “darkness” comes and find themselves paralyzed by their inability to cope with the longer nights.

The quiet that often accompanies the colder months is a direct result of human nature. We tend to hibernate more during the winter and activities in general suffer.

Let’s be honest, when it doesn’t get dark until 9 o’clock, it definitely affects our energy levels and we are more likely to be social, engage in outdoor activities or find things to do to keep us occupied. But when it is pitch black by 4:30, motivation often goes to the wayside, and we find ourselves making excuses to stay indoors citing “being too tired” or “not feeling well.”

I’ll admit this time of the year is particularly difficult for me, and I have to rely sometimes on family and friends to assist me when I find myself in the low motivation funk. It becomes really easy to develop patterns of behavior that can become harmful to our health, so it is imperative to be aware of how the longer nights and colder days affects our mental and physical health and then develop ways to combat the negative effects.

Those who are experiencing the death of a loved one are already battling difficulties such as lack of motivation, energy or the desire to be social. Additionally, it is also holiday season, and many find this time unbearable and could use heaping doses of love and support.

Now is the time to do some brain reframing and recognize that we still have the same amount of time in each day to be active, even though it is pitch black outside. Send out some feelers and have conversations with others about how to approach these coming months and look for some new coping mechanisms to help you along the way.

Grieving the loss of a loved one is difficult as it is, so let’s discover some ways to add some “light” into our lives during this time of “darkness.”

Jenny Filush-Glaze is a licensed counselor and owner of Serenity Community Counseling LLC. Contact her at jfilush@charter.net.

Jenny Filush-Glaze is a licensed counselor and owner of Serenity Community Counseling LLC. Contact her at jfilush@charter.net.

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