Woah, we're halfway there! And yes, please sing Bon Jovi's "Livin' On a Prayer" when you read that.
As I'm writing this, my husband and I are approaching the two month mark of our four month snowbird adventure.
If you've been following my blog, you know I've been documenting our snowbird adventure as we've gone along. All of the previous parts of this series have focused in on practical tips - how do I decide where to go, what do I pack, how do I secure things back home, etc. In Part 5, I want to focus in on the mental health aspect of our snowbird adventure.
Today I'm going to share what this snowbird adventure has meant to my mental health. So keep reading!
We All Need A Change Of Scenery!
It's been a very long 11 months. I don't have to remind any of you that around this time a year ago, we started hearing the word "coronavirus". Back in January of 2020, none of us knew how this virus was going to turn all of our worlds upside down.
But by mid-March, the virus was raging and we were all asked to stay home. For us in Philly, those stay-at-home orders lasted for months. And even when they were lifted, our ability to go and do things was severely limited.
Despite being avid travelers, we made the decision that the responsible thing to do - both for us personally and for others - was to not travel. And when I say no travel, I mean absolutely no travel. Outside of a short trip to visit family in Ohio, we stayed home.
So when we decided to snowbird in North Myrtle Beach, part of that decision was just about having a change of scenery. We may still be spending most of our time "at home", but just having a different set of four walls to look at makes a big difference.
The Winter Blues Are Real!
For as long as I can remember, I've disliked winter. Actually, I hate winter. Friends will often post about how much they love the cold and the snow. Nope. I hate it.
And for me, it goes beyond just not liking winter. While I have never been diagnosed, I'm pretty certain I have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). For most people (me included), SAD kicks in during the fall when the days get shorter and the weather gets gloomier.
Experts believe that SAD is directly related to the amount of sunlight we get. When the days are shorter and we aren't outside as much because of the weather, our bodies don't get the sunlight it needs and this can lead to us feeling tired and moody.
One of the main reasons I wanted to move south for the winter, is so I could still spend time outside. And while we've been here, I've made it a point to spend as much time as possible outside. I take walks on the beach several times a day. I also try to spend an hour or two a day working on my balcony.
If there was ever a question of whether SAD exists and if I have it, those questions were answered this winter. My mood this winter has been so much better than it has been in the past. I feel good and I don't feel tired. What a difference!
Tip #1: I realize that not everyone can move south or be somewhere that they can spend time in the sun every day. If you believe you struggle with SAD and need more sunlight in your life, consider investing in a sunlamp.
I Love The Ocean!
This one kind of surprises me. I have never been an "ocean person". I love warm locations, but I've never loved the ocean. When we go to Jamaica, I spend my time poolside and not on the beach. I have no interest in the Jersey shore. I don't like to go in any body of water that has fish in it (I know I'm weird).
When we first started looking for a place to stay, I was just focused on being in South Carolina. If we were close to the beach that was fine, but not required. Well, now that we've been here two months, I'm SO glad we ended up at the beach.
The ocean is so calming. I love walking on the beach and breathing in the fresh air!
I don't go in the ocean other than dipping my feet in sometimes when I walk. And I'm a bit obsessive about sweeping up sand that we bring into the condo. But the ocean fills my soul!
I love sitting on our balcony - both day and night - and looking out at the ocean. I try to take a walk every evening as the sun is setting and just look out at the waves. And we sleep with our balcony door cracked every night so we can hear the ocean as we sleep.
The Sunrise Fills My Soul!
There is no denying that 2020 was tough for a lot of reasons. Many of us dealt with illness. Still others of us dealt with losing loved ones. Everyone dealt with disappoints, cancellations and not being able to be with people you love.
I know that I have experienced times when things felt hopeless. Times when it feels like this is never going to end and things are never going to get better.
But despite a world that sometimes seems upside down, the sun always rises in the morning and sets in the evening. We might not always be able to see it happen. Sometimes clouds might cover our view. But we know it happens. Every single day.
The balcony of our condo has the perfect view to see the sunrise. Every morning, I pull on a sweatshirt and grab a blanket. I sit on the balcony with my laptop and a cup of tea and watch the sun come up.
I watch the sunrise every morning. It's a great reminder that things will go back to "normal" someday.
Every morning's sunrise is a little bit different. And every morning is my own little reminder that things will get better. We won't be this way forever. We'll get back to traveling and concerts and being with friends loved ones. We just have to keep the faith.
The sunrise fills my soul and keeps me going.
Being a snowbird has been the highlight of an extremely disappointing and difficult year. We took a little bit of a leap of faith in doing this, and it turned out to be the best thing we could do for our mental health!
Are you a snowbird? I’d love to hear about your experiences! Comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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