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Dealing with the mid-winter blahs

Sister Patty Fillenwarth ministers as a counselor at Providence Family Services (PFS) in Chicago.

Sister Patty Fillenwarth ministers as a counselor at Providence Family Services (PFS) in Chicago.

Looking out the window at the oatmeal-colored sky hurling down buckets of sleet and ice reminds us again that we are in February. It’s the time of year when we would like to curl up under the blanket and forget that there is a life going on out there. An hour of the blanket over our head might feel right, but it really isn’t the panacea for happiness.

It is important to stay engaged in life because February is a good time for SADS to settle into our bones and our lives. Seasonal Affective Disorder Syndrome comes in big or small doses. In some instances we might need a trip to a doctor for some pharmaceutical help, but there are many things we can do help ourselves to “ward it off at the bend” such as :

Keep to your agenda—get up and at ‘em, come sleet, snow or butterflies.

Turn on the lights—candles are great for atmosphere but old Tom Edison did us all a favor when he “first saw the light.” Light one up for him, if not for yourself.

Move your body—if you’re confined to the house, it’s a great time to clean the cupboards, pack up donations for the PFS Rummage Sale or rearrange the furniture. You can read in the summer in the park.

• Electronic social media is great but the human voice is magnificent! Phones still work so “reach out” and interact with another human. It’s good exercise for your vocal cords and your ears—as well as your spirit.

• Send someone a note or a “Happy Nothing Day” card, and then treat yourself once in a while to a Snickers Bar!

• Most importantly, don’t wait too long. If you feel unusual crabbiness, lethargy, loss of energy or loss of interest in life, try some of these things. And while doctors shouldn’t be your first stop, it’s good to remember that they are there and a call to her/him might be in order.

Happy grey days!!

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Sister Patricia Fillenwarth

Sister Patty Fillenwarth, formerly Sister Joseph Monica, has been a Sister of Providence since 1958. She has ministered as a teacher, principal and counselor. She currently volunteers at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

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