Winter Blues? Time to Feed Your Dreams!

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

I was watching the news a few weeks ago, and they were talking about a rather odd challenge in south Florida. The local residents were being warned to watch overhead for iguanas falling out of the sky. Okay, out of trees, but when one of them hits you on the head, it doesn’t really matter where it started. You scream like a girl and run. Just me???

The problem is that iguanas are cold-blooded, and when outside temperatures get too cold, they go into a type of coma. Being tree-dwellers by nature, that’s where they go to get cold. And, not that I can speak from personal experience, but it’s a little hard to maintain a grip on tree limbs when you’re unconscious. Hence, the falling lizards.

Winter seems to have that effect on a lot of us. Okay, we’re warm-blooded so we don’t go into a coma. We just complain so much everybody wishes we would. Of all the things that can trigger a state of depression, weather ranks pretty high on the list. We may not fall out of trees, but we can certainly fall off our pedestal of nirvana. You have one of those, right?

Whether it’s too much heat, too much cold, too much rain, too much snow, or too much of whatever makes you unhappy at the moment, it gets old fast. Continual discomfort, of any kind, makes it a little hard to smile. Next thing you know, you’re biting the waiter’s head off for seating you under an air vent.

Depression affects us in a lot of ways. One of the more subtle symptoms is that it tends to wipe out our ability to dream. Oh, don’t get me wrong. People who are cold have no problem dreaming of someplace warm. But those dreams don’t usually involve exotic places like Tahiti. There’s a point where a heated barn looks good.

If you’ve ever seen Maslow’s Pyramid, it’s a pretty accurate depiction of the hierarchy of human needs. Down at the bottom you have basic survival. Take away oxygen, and nobody cares much about the stock market. Their needs immediately drop to the bottom of the pyramid. But as we climb out of that level, we find ourselves looking to increasingly self-serving interests.

Don’t take that one wrong. Self-serving, in this instance, doesn’t mean we don’t care about anybody around us. It just means we’re trying to enjoy a life that makes us feel worthy and fulfilled. And until we climb above all the lower-level minutiae that seems to consume our energy, we’ll never reach the top of the pyramid.

So, where does physical comfort fall in the hierarchy? Somewhere a little below our dreams. And if you buy into Maslow’s theory that we can never climb the pyramid until we resolve any issues at the foundational levels, it’s not hard to understand why we suffer what’s known as the winter blues. It’s not that we’re cold. It’s that we’re so cold nothing else matters.

Ask a person in the winter what they dream of, and they can probably tell you about a resort city somewhere in the tropics. But it’s not really a dream at that point – it’s a wish. Ask the same question in the springtime, when we’re not house-bound in the freezing cold, and they can get excited about it. Why? Because it feels a little more real.

Dreaming isn’t just letting our mind wander to faraway places and a life that’s somehow better than our own. That’s daydreaming. And while that’s a healthy escape from the stresses of the day, it’s not the kind of dreaming that leads to anything other than mindless thought. Dreaming – real dreaming that leads us to action, is a more deliberate process.

It’s not enough to just think about it. You have to visualize it. You have to see yourself in the dream, complete with all the sounds, tastes, and smells that let you know it’s real. Get pictures and put them where you’ll see them several times a day. Pick a place that goes with the dream. Got a picture of Tahiti? Put it on the wall next to the thermostat.

What kind of food and drinks would you enjoy in that tropical resort? You know, you can have them at home if you want. It’s legal. When I eat seafood, rum cake, or Key Lime pie, I’m not just thinking about the islands – I’m there. Can’t fake yourself out with food? Try some suntan lotion. Yes, indoors. In the winter. I dare you to smell that all day without thinking of the beach.

Nothing fights depression like dreams, but you have to feed your dreams to keep them alive. How you feed them is up to you – just do it. Don’t leave it to chance, and don’t wait for summer. Feed your dreams now, and you won’t be able to contain them later.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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