Waking up when it's cold out. Trying to track the sun when it's been gray for days.
Personality seems to never fully download into the body over the buffering efforts of combatting sleepiness. If the birds and bees can euphemize sex, the deciduous forests illuminate dormancy. Death everywhere, flippantly temporary so you say "Ugh." The clock has clicked over to winter here and Midwesterners struggle with thick blood and thin skin, plenty to do, but the fuel is tough to keep lit.
Take it from a practitioner of absurdist witchcraft, I guess. You're gonna need to do extremely personal things. It's okay to explain this to children and bosses, strangers and friends. You're gonna need to dream. It's what the oaks are doing.
Courage is a nice alternative fuel source for times like these. The Latin root for courage is "heart" which has less to do with its synonym "bravery," and more with honesty, being forthright with and unafraid of your heart's clang songs. I think Midwesterners are known for a lot of things. But it's timely to reiterate the fact that we're four-season-folk. Hard-working and dreamy. All pit-falls and preparation.
"Help yourself," says the kind scientist butler in your brain, gracefully gesturing over a smorgasbord of smooshed-up emotional states. Roll them out, wash and pluck them, think of them as produce that re-ripens with your care and attention. There's still some summer stock preserved, but the main course right now is winter fruits with their bizarre, bloody, meaty, brittle, and boring bodies. So lay them out, clean them up, get your recipes together, and start steaming your windows. Observe a little dopamine wiggle as you sit down to eat and healthily digest your feelings.
Midwest Recipes for Seasonal Affective Disorder is running from the solstice until the equinox, which is sky math, I guess, for the duration of Winter. It will be coming soon in book form, but for now NUVO will run these bits of advice, comics and and general guidence for your well being. (Editor's note: What can we say, we love you.)
I'll forgo any disclaimers about my psychological training and just say here it's fun to make these up, and I've always had to make these up to feel stronger. But I stand by them as pretty good recipes that could improve the health and well-being of our city in these trying times.
And they all pair terrifically with a full glass of water.
Stay hydrated, y'all.
Lisa Berlin is an Indianapolis artist whose other projects include HEN, a two-person performance troupe with Aimee Brown (aka Tender Evans), and General Public Collective, an artist-run gallery, project space and concept shop in Fountain Square.