Those of of you who’ve followed me a while know that every winter I deal with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Yes, even here in sunny Southern California. Usually I don’t notice until February, by which point I’m so deep in that I can’t claw my way out until May or June.
This year I noticed early—right after the start of NaNoWriMo. My weight had spiked. I craved carbohydrates. I felt tired all the time. My blood pressure was rising, and my exercise falling. Nothing was interesting. And writing wasn’t happening.
I made a decision to put my health ahead of writing this November. Sue me.
I’ve changed my sleeping habits so that I’m awake from sunrise on. I’ve made outdoor exercise a priority. I’ve managed to find a food plan I can stick to even on my worst days. As a result, my blood pressure, inflammation levels, blood glucose, etc. have all stayed in healthy territory. Even my weight (which goes up 7–10 lbs. each winter) reversed the late October spike and is now holding steady.
I’ll take it. Steady is good.
NaNoWriMo comes after all that. No more late-night catch-up sessions fueled by caffeine, carbohydrates, and anxiety. NaNo comes after getting outdoors in the sun… (or maybe with it if my electronics will stay charged.) NaNo is less important than getting enough sleep, getting exercise, and keeping my food clean. I signed up for an ordinary 50,000 word project, but honestly I’ll be thrilled if I make it to 10k.
So no progress bar this November. In December, I’ll let y’all know how far I got in NaNoWriMo and more importantly how the winter is going for me in general.