When apricots made me laugh and 10 tips to combat winter SADness plus a recipe for Blues-Battling Chocolate Pudding

SNOW 2014

SNOW 2014-2

So before the snow came down I was soaking dried apricots for a new recipe.

When I looked in the bowl and saw all these little, bloated, brownish-orange blobs I lost it.

Don’t ask me why but I started laughing and couldn’t stop. Even thinking about it now as I write is making me smile. And I am sorry to say that in my giggling fit I completely forgot to snap a photo.

I laughed so loud and long that my Michael came up from his study to see what in the world was going on.

He and I have somewhat different ideas about what’s humorous and what’s, well, inane 🙂 but my laughter was so contagious he caught the wave.

And laughter is good for the soul and it boosts our immunity as well! And how important it is to laugh especially during the gloomy season of winter {spoken as a girl of summer with my apologies to winter-lovers like my husband.}

Now that Phil has indicated we are in for six more weeks with the white stuff and frigid temps, some of us may need help combating the sadness that can accompany the season of shivering where we like to hibernate, crave carbs, feel lethargic and daydream about visiting a tropical island.

If you are feeling sadder than SAD, please contact your health care provider about seasonal depression. But if you’re like me and get only occasional bouts of cabin fever, try these tips:

**1. Keep laughing — watch funny movies, tell each other jokes, play a game of silly charades.

**2. Move — get up from your computer every half hour and stretch. Dedicate at least 30 minutes daily to exercise you enjoy such as walking, dancing or yoga. Or go shovel some snow.


**3. Get social — and not just online although making those connections truly does boost your spirits. Schedule a tea date with a friend face-to-face at least once a week.

**4. Sleep well — establish a sleep routine and stick with it. Retire and wake at the same time each day. Don’t be online late at night and avoid watching movies that can shake you up before bed. Aim for seven to eight hours.

**5. Take a “nap” with your spouse — sexual intimacy, which boosts endorphins and bonding hormones, improves your mood as well as bolsters immunity. So have fun!

**6. Let there be light — during the day if it’s gray and drab out, turn on indoor lights. Open shades and curtains to let in as much natural light at possible. If you have serious issues with SAD speak to your doctor about investing in a Lux light for photo therapy and other helps to make you feel better.

**7. And excellent things…make a date with God every single day. Pour out your heart in prayer and read His love letter to stay in the right frame of mind. Stand strong against fearful, negative thinking by identifying the enemy’s lies and replacing them with truth. Keep a gratitude list and count your blessings. Journal your thoughts. Focus on what’s true, right, lovely and praiseworthy per Philippians 4:8.

**8. Go outside and play — this can be hard for me because on cold and dreary days I just want to stay inside where it’s warm. But bundling up in multiple layers and forcing myself to leave the confines of my cave really revs my spirit while it increases my heart rate. Being in nature even on a dreary day can be a great tonic. And if the sun is out, all the better. You will soak up vitamin D and make your brain happier at the same time.

**9. Eat healthy — even though the carbs are calling loudly just say no. Instead reach for foods high in B vitamins (including dark leafy greens and whole grains which raise blood sugar more slowly than simple carbs like white flour and sugar and can help regulate moods) and omega 3s from such sources as walnuts, salmon, sardines and avocados.

**10. Chocolate!! — need I say more? Skip the sugary milk chocolate and indulge in organic, fair trade, dark chocolate of at least 70 percent cacao. But go easy. One to two ounces per day is really all you need.

And here’s a very yummy treat that’s good for your body and can make your brain happy {at least it does mine!}



Longings End Blues-Battling Chocolate Pudding

2 very ripe avocados, scooped from their shells and pitted
about 8-10 dried apricots (soaked overnight in about 3/4 cup water)
4 generously heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder
2 teaspoons of maple syrup (more if you like it sweeter)

Place the apricots with their water into a Vita-Mix or blender.
Blend for about 20 seconds or so.
Add the maple syrup, and cocoa powder one tablespoon at a time.
Blend until creamy and the consistency of pudding.
It gets thick so you may need to stop and scrape down the sides of the blender once or twice.

This pudding is rich and not too sweet. If you like it sweeter just add more maple syrup one teaspoonful at a time. Keep refrigerated and eat within two days.

But it probably won’t last that long…


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12 thoughts on “When apricots made me laugh and 10 tips to combat winter SADness plus a recipe for Blues-Battling Chocolate Pudding

  1. Wish I could’ve read this yesterday when an attack of the sads hit! I, like you, have occasional bouts with the blues, and thankfully, woke up more cheerfully today. I’m nursing a ski injury, and so wish I could go play in the snow today. I’ll focus on your other nine suggestions today! (BTW, God’s love letter? Did you have something specific in mind, or just scriptures, in general?) Thanks for sharing this!
    -Denise J.

    • Good to see you at Longings End, Denise. While you’re recuperating a dose of the chocolate pudding might help! 🙂 As I mentioned, from God’s love letter: the gospels and the psalms. My book, Heart Cry, includes 40 reflections for a woman’s soul based on the psalms. All the verses in Heart Cry helped me navigate some very dark and dreary times in my life. Times when it was almost impossible for me to lift my head from the pillow so heavy it was with my tears and to find the joy. But God is faithful. He brings us through what we need to go through so that we keep becoming more like Jesus. Blessings to you and feel better soon! https://www.createspace.com/4536889

  2. I love it when I laugh like that. I did that recently when my son did something funny. He had no clue why I was laughing but before long we were both rolling on the floor and having a blast!

    A good belly laugh does the heart good.

    Interesting recipe. never heard of using avocado’s- but I don’t’ cook much…

  3. What a wonderful inspiring list Sheila – love this post! Even though it’s summer here in Australia, the wisdom is relevant to me 🙂 And best of all, I love that recipe. I am on a gluten, dairy and sugar free detox at the moment (thrilling I know!) but once I enter into the ‘dark chocolate allowed’ part of it I will definitely try this!!

    • Thanks so much, Elise, and for sharing this post. Especially on a day like today — at least in the Hudson Valley — where it is drippy and gloomy and gray! I will be visiting Circles of Faith soon. I love practicing holistic health habits and would LOVE to share some of what I have learned along the way. Thanks for asking and ttys.

  4. Thanks again for stopping by my site earlier! Your suggestions are good ones too, and I liked reading them from another person’s perspective even though some of ours overlap a bit. Also, I’m glad to see this pudding recipe. I tried a chocolate avocado pudding recipe once, but it didn’t taste too great though it was very creamy. I need to try a better/different way to sweeten it, I think, and I’m going to try your suggestions. Thanks for giving me the link!