Soft orange. Deep, silky flavors graze my tongue and fill it with sweet, roasted squash soup. Few soups have the depth of flavor. Few soups have the soft comfort. Few soups have the love and Autumn in a bowl as this Triple Squash Soup. I purchased it at Whole Foods on a Sunday trying to comfort my body who was fighting a cold. I sipped it hoping it wouldn’t end. At the inevitable end, I stared at my bowl longing willing it to materialize more. Most dishes I eat that have this effect on me usually inspire me to attempt it at home. However, something about not having access to it everyday made this special moment that much more heightened. Whole Foods only makes this soup in the Autumn and once or twice a week at that. Having the limits on when I can eat it gave me the freedom to lust after it and indulge when I saw it.
While contemplating licking the bowl, it occurred to me that this time of year is full of just that: comfort. Once we put our clocks back an hour and darkness arrives sooner and sooner and I have to force myself out of bed pre-sunrise for five months, all I look for is comfort. I want to sleep more. I want to lay around watching television for hours. I want to sit in front of my fireplace ignoring all responsibilities. Leisure is all I desire in a time when I have so much to accomplish. This season is the toughest to stay motivated through. Yet, it’s the most important to stay motivated in. You see less sunlight equals less uplifting moods for me. It’s annoying and I wish it wasn’t an issue, but is it is.
For years, I have coped with Winter by lying around watching and re-watching my favorite TV Show, Northern Exposure. I have coped by eating tons of comfort foods. I have coped by allowing my body to hibernate just like bears do and even said exactly that to myself. I grasp at all things cozy during these five months of mostly darkness. It has been my only strategy to live through Winter aside from moving to a place where Winter doesn’t really exist. It’s this mixed up ball of cozy, comfortable, and sad. I want it and can’t wait till it’s over. In true Dream2write form, internal conflict remains.
This year, I am taking a slightly more proactive role in planning for the upcoming winter. I researched a few items about Winter Sadness or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Aside from the ironic acronym, I learned that there are a few ways to cope with it that don’t include watching Twilight on repeat which has also become a favorite strategy. According to the Mayo clinic, there are three strategies that can help you cope: 1. Get more sunlight when it’s available 2. Exercise Outside 3. Exercise Regularly. One of those I innately do; I am drawn to sunlight and it’s healing energy. In addition to these strategies, I have decided to get a Sunlight lamp and take Vitamin D supplements regularly.
One might question why this year? Why have I decided to attempt new strategies when my former strategies have gotten me through so far? Well, the truth is although I love eating more and vegging out in the Winter, I don’t like the shift my mood takes. It’s hard to start each day and end each day feeling so low and unmotivated. It’s not how I want to live my life–anymore.
Comfort comes in many ways. Sunlight is my most favorite form and I mourn its loss all Winter. I don’t know if this Sun Lamp thing will give me what I need, but I’m at a place where I have to try. Grateful for the Triple Squash Soup and its comfort, I move towards the cold armed with new tools in hopes of a different outcome.