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Making a Difference in Your Winter

Spencer Pollock
Computer Developer. Working to make things simpler. I'll tell you my story as it unfolds.
Originally published at on ・4 min read

Have you ever felt down on your luck? Things aren't going your way, it's not working out, or you just need to get out of here? Me too. It's quite the downer. You feel less like yourself every passing moment, the walls close in, you don't want to even get out of bed.

I think this may be the time of year. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD; I know, apt name indeed) has different ways of rearing its ugly head. Fortunately for me and my fellow West-Coasters, the weather hasn't been white and below zero constantly, unlike the rest of Canada, but we are still hit with the same weather (cold, rainy and cloudy) for 5 months straight over the winter holidays. It makes for getting up and out a lot more difficult than back in the summer when you'd want to head out every day!

SAD or just plain sad, you're the one stopping yourself from getting out and making a difference for yourself. It's difficult I'm sure, but remember that feeling you get the last time you went out and did the things? Focus on that! Focus on taking those little steps towards a better you. Those small steps now pay off dividends over the weeks and months of the winter break.

A little story: the last two years, winter was a very tough time, last year being the rougher of the two. Both years, I was either at school, or working, or both (silly me, don't do it all). I'd been slowly stopping working out and getting active altogether. My time glued to the couch watching TV increased. I didn't find satisfaction in the things I loved anymore. While I'd started using the "Digital Wellness" on my phone to cut down my screen time (drastically I might add) I went from an average of 6 hrs/day usage down to 1.5 hrs a day; which was huge because I was switching from iPhone to Android and it was a lot of change on top of a lot of change in my life. I stayed in bed as much as possible - sometimes coming home and just getting right into bed - ate until I couldn't eat anymore for lunches and dinners. I lost myself.

It was a tough time. I look back now and think how did I let myself get so low, but I remember back to the time and it wasn't that difficult. I didn't have any motivation to be better, to do more. I think that's the real key too. Find motivation and hold on for dear life to it. Literally.

Finding something as a goal is difficult. It's hard to look ahead and know exactly what a future you will want, no questions asked. To assist you in finding that out though, take a personality test or two. Ask your family and friends what they think your strengths are (outside of schooling). Challenge yourself to work on some small ideas you've had for a while too. Also, try to think of new ways you can use your skills and see if you can monetize them in any way. It may not be the time of year to get all the things done, but you can set yourself up to start strong on this new journey as soon as possible.

Things get better, but it takes a lot longer for them to get better without you helping them out. Every little step in one direction adds to one big step. Plus, the more you take now, the less you have to take later, or you can catapult yourself ahead of others who decide to take them later on. For now, do the things that make you happy. Even if they don't make you happy right now, keep trying new things until you like something again. Worst case, just get out for a 20-minute walk. Head to the coffee shop on that walk, or just go somewhere where you can rest for a bit and take in some scenery.

To recap, these are what I believe is important to beating the SAD out of yourselves:

  1. Find a goal; hold on for dear life
  2. Get up and out; change your scenery every chance you can, and make memories to look back on.
  3. Do the things you love; even when you don't love them right now.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and get to know me a little bit. I hope this put some new ideas in your head, or if not, maybe you took something else away and you'd like to share. Feel free to comment and I'll respond as soon as possible (you can PM me or email if you'd like to get just a 1-on-1 instead). I continue to look forward to going on this journey with all of you.

Take care of yourself - Spencer

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