I’m having a hard time writing right now. That usually means I know what I want to say, but I’m afraid to say it.
When I was a teenager, I would tell my mom I was depressed and being the encouraging optimist she is, my mother would reassure me, “No, you’re not.”
I’m not saying I’m actually depressed, but winter brings with it a serious case of the blues. Christmas is over. The trees come down and lay out on sides of the street like road kill carcasses, and SAD (seasonal affective disorder) sets in. It starts to feel like the New Year’s Resolution is a huge prank. Could there be a worse time to employ something new? When it’s cold and gray and wintry outside? So how do I do it – employ the resolution? Or function?
I get out of bed by giving myself a reason (a cup of coffee). Call me pathetic, but knowing I can have a cup of coffee in the morning helps me fall asleep and gets me out of bed the next day. We all need a reason to get out of bed in the morning – especially in winter. I start small with coffee, tea, a muffin, or a scone and go from there.
I keep my endorphins up. And no – this isn’t a New Year’s lose weight gimmick that everyone tries for two days and quits. This means getting outside (even if it’s for ten minutes) and walking the dog or jogging a mile. I have fallen for P90x and find Tony Horton is my home boy. Rumor has it those videos go for pretty cheap on eBay and I find they help anyone at any fitness level get a good workout. As Tony says, “Do your best and forget the rest.” I get my exercise high and that helps the winter day look a little less bleak.
Finally, I find a way to do what I love.
I don’t know if I mentioned before but I’m about to launch a business. Yes, I am completely nuts. I’ve been doing online marketing outreach for a company in NYC for more than two years now and they always joked I should make it a business and take on more clients.
I always thought that idea was absurd, especially since I thought New Yorkers were absurd when I first met them, but the more I got to know them and their company and the more I developed a skill for online marketing and social media outreach, the more I thought it was a good idea.
So I’m taking on more clients this year (with my website launching mid-January). In order to combat the severe anxiety induced by becoming a sole proprietor and the potential of developing stomach ulcers, I’ve resolved to set aside time this year to do what I love – every day. This doesn’t mean I have to do this every day (aren’t most resolutions things we HAVE to do?). It means I can do this every day and should do this every day because I love it. What am I talking about? I’m personally talking about acting – obviously.
I figure if I can take an hour to exercise each day and several hours to do online marketing outreach each day, I can take time to act every day. Believe it or not – I haven’t been acting every day. (I know!). I’m not always in a show. I’m not always in rehearsal. Sometimes I don’t have a scheduled reason to act and it’s hard to be disciplined and do it on my own.
But, of course, I find when I do, I really enjoy it. So I go into a room, close the door, and do a vocal warm up (Huh-hum-muh). I’m breathing. I’m moving (definitely having a dance party with Taylor Swift). I’m working on a new monologue (right now it’s a Shakespeare piece from Troilus and Cressida) and it’s refreshing. It’s just as good as an endorphin high or a cup of coffee. Fine, you got me – it’s better.
So yeah, the winter’s the worst. But I guess we can do two things – make like bears and hibernate (this is a cop out) – or make a game plan, our own personal winter blues salve. And we can stick to it. Because spring will come eventually. And when it does, Cressida and her caffeinated beach body will be ready.
Jana (it rhymes with “banana” or “anna”) is an artist from Clarksville, Maryland. Growing up her parents always told her to “be whatever you want to be.” Seeing as she has come from three generations of doctors, she obviously became an artist. As an actor, she has performed internationally Off-Broadway, and locally to the Baltimore/DC area. Favorite roles include Juliet, Ariel, and Caliban. Jana is the Founder of Red Connect Online, a social media marketing company that creates customized advertising campaigns for small businesses. You can listen to her podcast, Confessions of a Closet Christian, on the E-Squared Media Network. You can also follow her on Twitter (@Jana_Stambaugh) and friend her on Facebook.