I don’t know about you all, but there seems no worse way to start off every year than the dog days of January grayness. Holiday cheer is replaced with emptied bank accounts, shitty weather, and a seemingly endless string of grey skies. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) effects over 3 million people every year, and I know for me, January is one of the hardest months to fight through.
But fear not, dear reader, because I’ve developed a SAD toolkit to help you feel your sunniest self, even on the coldest of days.
A weighted blanket, also known as a gravity blanket, are designed to be much heavier than regular blankets, simulating a similar physicological response that pressured touch provides us. Studies have shown they increase serotonin and melatonin levels while decreasing cortisol, all working together to provide you a much needed mood boost on those gloomy days. A weighted blanket session pairs particularly well with a fun historical novel like Tessa Dare’s A Week to Be Wicked. This novel supplies a combination of the best tropes: Rake and bluestocking, enemies to lovers, road trip, marriage of convenience, and, best of all, ONE BED AT THE INN. It is full of crazy laughs and some of the best banter in the game.
Light boxes, SAD lamps, Happy lamps, whatever you call it, these lights help to provide benefits that mimic the natural benefits of sunshine without any UV exposure. They work to boost serotonin, helping you relax, focus, and feel more awake. Make sure to always consult with a medical health professional before implementing the use! The Hating Game by Sally Thorne is the literary equivalent of seeing the sun for the first time in 5 months. We’ve all read it. We all love it. Why fight it? Sometimes, you just need to sit in front of your seasonal depression lamp and turn to an instant classic like THG to forget how much winter sucks. Let sunshine Lucy melt your grumpy Joshua heart.
Sometimes, the simplest things can brighten a glum day, that includes warm feet in a nice pair of fuzzy socks. Bonus points if they have a cute print or turn your toes into a cute little animal. I recommend reading The Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas while getting those feet warm and toasty, sympathizing with poor Evie’s cold feet on the journey to Gretna Green while also swooning over Sebastian’s insatiable rakish charm.
Bubble bath/Expensive soap/Face Mask
Dealers choice with a nice bath/spa product splurge. You can range anywhere from super cheap to luxury and still enjoy the benefits of treating yourself. I recommend reading a few chapters of Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling. Not a romance, but Mindy Kaling is the celebrity gal-pal of my dreams, and reading her memoir is such a laugh-out-loud delight.
A Happy Song Playlist
A good song can do wonders for one’s mood. Keep track of the songs that give you that happy, bubbly feeling, and make a playlist! If you feel motivated enough, get up and do a little dance to songs that particularly slap. Pairs nicely with Kylie Scott’s Stage Dive series, filled with tons of laughs, heat, and chemistry with a swoon worthy rockstar trope.
I know, I know, he last thing any of us want to do in nasty weather is go for a walk, but hear me out. Walking is an amazing way to get out of the house and take some much needed you-time. It can help to lower your blood pressure, increase heart health, and promote all those healthy brain chemicals. One of the best ways to spend a walk is with a good audiobook, and I can’t say enough good things about Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren. Listen, this book is absolute fire, and the narrator does an amazing Ansel accent. Listening to this audiobook got me through a half-marathon, it’s that damn good.
A Good Meal
We all have to eat, and sometimes, as hard as it can feel to cook a meal, the things we eat can have a huge effect on our mood. Complex carbs, leafy greens, nuts, fish, dark chocolate (!!!!!) have all been shown to provide feel good chemical benefits to help you fight SAD. Don’t like to cook? Order in! Commission a friend! Cash in a favor! I also recommend indulging in the deliciousness of The Devil’s Daughter. Honestly, I recommend any novel in Lisa Kleypas’ Ravenel’s Series, but West and Phoebe have a relatively low angst relationship that made me feel as happy as a full belly after a good meal. Extra bonus points for the vegetable broth recipe at the end of the novel (West’s personal fav).