If we get four more inches of snow this week it will beat NYC’s snowiest winter. Crazy! I’ve been so distracted by the constant below-zero weather I hadn’t noticed the extra snow. I have, however, noticed that the winter blahs are catching up with me – even with my active daily participation in an anti-seasonal affective disorder regiment (an hour of fresh air, exercise, and mega amounts of citrus and dark leafy vegetables). I’m not the only one feeling this way. Almost every conversation lately is about being over the weather, the need for a vacation to sunny states, and seemingly serious considerations about moving away. Although I’m dedicating this week’s post to everyone who’s had to put up with this year’s brutal winter, I’m hopeful even warm-state recovering addicts will accept my challenge.

There are two things about “cabin fever” that are especially treacherous for recovering addicts. There’s both lethargy and lack of motivation and way too much time to think about ourselves. When we’re actively participating in our life time spent overthinking is minimized. Isolated and inactive, we can think our way into despair and anxiety. I propose it is time to start moving. Have some fun and lighten up your mood.

When I was an only child in a household where there was active alcoholism, I found solace by creating dance routines in the basement. I spent a lot of time in a fantasy world where one day I would get to be one of the dancing Golddiggers on the Dean Martin Show. To prepare myself for this destiny I’d turn up the volume on my favorite tunes and dance my ass off. While my amateur dance routine days have come and gone (ironically exhausted by years on a strip club stage), this winter I keep renewing my spirit by blasting music and dancing like a fool.

Go to your music collection or to Pandora and locate the favorite tunes from your life and turn up the volume. Dance like a fool in the privacy of your own home. You can dance with your friends, with your pets, or by yourself. Try those crazy moves you know you can’t do and laugh a little. Sing along. JUST START MOVING! I guarantee that if you can keep this up for 30-45 minutes you’ll flip out by how much better you feel. Free your body and mind, dance as wildly as you can, break out in a sweat, and enjoy the fact that you still have a heartbeat (even if it feels like its going to pound right out of your chest). For 45 minutes a day you can lift your spirits and get a break from thinking about yourself. It’s a win-win and a perfect way to begin March. By the time the weather breaks you’re going to be able to translate this dance time into exercise time. For anyone who’s been on the fitness fence, take this post as a challenge. Who knows – maybe it will kickstart the desire to include regular exercise into your life.

Remember – recovery happens in mind, body, and spirit. Dance your way out of the winter blahs. You can lighten your existential load by weakening the grip of seasonal affective disorder. Have some fun!


Patty is a nationally recognized certified recovery coach and writer. She lives in New York City.

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