Seasonal Affective Disorder, Seasonal Depression, whatever you like to call it, is a real thing. In 2019, the American Psychiatric Association believed about 5% of the population suffered from it. Take into account that not all who suffer seek out medical attention, which makes me believe it's much higher, even more so starting off 2021. Now, I call it the Winter Blues, because I undoubtedly get a dash of melancholy every winter, and it wasn't professionally diagnosed by a doctor. I add that, because someone once tried telling me that I cannot only have depression for a season, that I'm looking for pity as I am not diagnosed by a doctor with full on depression.
Ladies and Gents, I'm here to tell you that you can feel whatever the heck you want, whenever the heck you want, and no one can tell you it's not real.
For the longest time, I would joke and tell everyone that I was so moody because my body was trying to hibernate, but I had to go to work. It was a lighthearted way of saying I don't do Winter. The cold makes me want to curl up with all my blankets (I'm cheap and keep the heat low), then I eat everything in an attempt to increase my energy, even bad foods, in turn making me feel bloated and frumpy. Oh, and don't forget break-outs; and with the decline of confidence, goes my motivation. If this sounds anything like you, here are the things I'm doing to put a little pep in my step. Some of these will sound a little generic, but it's what is working for me!
Sit By The Window
Sounds weird doesn't it? I have a decent sized bay window in the front, and sliders in the back. Wherever the sun hits, I try to stand or sit by that window. Dennis always laughs when I tell him what I did that day was sit in the window. Diluted as it may be by the clouds or the window, I try to get as much vitamin D as I can. Additionally, my chiro works with body chemistry and supplements to get the right balance for me, which always includes a D capsule. It does not hurt to ask your doctor or research if there's a medical professional in your area who can explain these balances and it that's right for you.
Getting into a good book not only gives me something to do while I'm inside, but I can become so immersed in the story that it keeps my mind off of all the things I could be doing but I'm not, because I have no motivation. Light a candle and get my favorite comfort beverage and there goes a few hours. I like to find a series where there are multiple books to keep me busy. It also gives me something to look forward to after work, and feeling that anticipation helps to ease the feeling of failing for me.
Find Energy From Something Other Than Caffeine
Don't get me wrong, the first thing I do in the morning when I get up is make coffee (then go sit by a window), but after that one cup it's over. No more coffee, no soda, none. I've realized that the headaches and crappy feelings I've been getting are in part to when I try to have a second cup of coffee, or any pop, along with my poor eating choices. I used to cringe when people would tell me the answer but now I say it: drink more water. For me it has to be ice cold. The bonus of losing a few extra calories as my body works to bring the water to body temp is okay too. If you just cannot do plain water, add lemon, or lime, or citrus, any fruit really. Eating better foods also makes a difference. I'm no dietician but fast food is no bueno, and when I'm on the road for work, that's all I'd eat. Eat more chicken, roast or steam veggies. You're allowed to put seasonings on food if you're still 7 and don't eat green things. Eating better and drinking more water will also help with bloating and some forms of acne, in turn making you feel more positive about yourself.
I know, it's the worst. We have to get up, change or even put on clothes, go out into the cold or get into our cold vehicle to go to a gym, then run or lift or spin. I always feel so much better after I've sweat out all the bad juju, and wonder why I threw a fit to go in the first place. Endorphins and dopamine also help to reduce stress and release anxiety and anger. Just last night after working out I had more energy so I
made homemade soup and posted the whole process on my Instagram story because I think I'm funny. Part of exercising is also getting into a routine, and that helps to keep your mind on your next task, or step of the day, and before you
know it, it's Spring.
Make A Vision Board
I did this just last week! I was feeling like I wanted to get so much done but really had no idea where to start, and honestly, just didn't feel like getting up (I also just got new recliners and they're real comfy). I'm naturally a creative person anyway and have lacked in photography and painting, so making a vision board helped me feel like I accomplished something. Make a list of things you want to achieve in the next week, month, or year. For me I had home projects, work goals, hobby goals, and a list of things that I feel would make me a better version of myself.
DO NOT compare yourself to others or take social media seriously. Everyone has a different timeline and individuals do not always share their struggles or negative thoughts. The best you can do is take motivation from others who are projecting positive outlooks.
Everyone has their own versions of the Winter Blues, and each have their own way of coping. But if for some reason, you just couldn't find where to start, I hope my list gave you a few ideas.