Since taking the plunge in starting this blog a lot of challenges have arrived-challenges that I didn’t expect. Because this is something I truly love, I have decided to take an entirely new approach. I have had to force myself to change my habits, which has been even more difficult than usual. I definitely suffer this time of year, as soon as the time changes and the days start getting shorter and the trees lose their leaves. BUT, and that’s a very big BUT-I’ve decided I need to embrace this season change, instead of dreading it. Maybe there’s some kind of symbolism to me not liking it getting colder. I’m known to not like change and that alone can sometimes throw me completely for a loop. As you may have noticed I have been pretty absent since my original post and this is partly why. I am striving for change and to allow myself to be pushed to new levels, be forced to do different things and be out of my comfort zone. I think that is what is so exciting and also terrifying about this new adventure. That being said, I would love to share some of the things I do to combat seasonal depression.
So, to give a little bit of back story. At the start of the new year I quit my job of 5 years to try and pursue my blogging passion. That was one of the hardest and scariest things I have ever done. Leaving, I knew I would have to get something part time and the thought of a new job with new challenges scared me to death. At the end of January I was hired at a local health food store and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Part-time and something I can really enjoy, learn and grow with. I am loving getting educated about all of the holistic supplements and the perks of local honey, raw milk and much more! I’m hoping that I will be able to translate what I am learning from the store to the blog! Hopefully more on that!
So, as if my seasonal “blues” weren’t enough to make me completely useless, throw in a new job, and the looming “why aren’t you blogging?” to the mix and presto! You get a very overwhelmed Carley. But, in saying that-I do feel the only way I am at all functioning or combating this thing is with God. I seriously couldn’t do each day without Him.
SAD (how fitting right?) or seasonal affective disorder can be completely debilitating. I think it’s something that gets very easily overlooked because “who doesn’t get a little down” when it’s cold and dreary. Well, I’m here to tell you it’s nothing to joke about. Feeling sad or anxious, feeling irritable, easily frustrated, restless, having problems with sleep, eating more or less than usual, feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless. Just to name a few symptoms… For as long as I can remember I’ve had seasonal depression. Some years are worse then others and this year has been one of the worst.
If you struggle with SAD or depression know that you aren’t alone. I want to share some things I do to get through what seems like the endless winter.
- Be around people. My number one – tried and true is being around people. I understand that it’s the last thing you’re going to want to do. Trust me, I know. But, the more you can put yourself around others and force yourself out of the house and therefore out of your head, the better. Even if you go to your local coffee shop and read a book. I notice on the days I work, I don’t feel the effects as much as I would when I am home with no where to be.
- OPEN THE WINDOWS! Winter tends to be dark dark dark. Whenever there is a glimmer of sunshine pull open those curtains and flip up those blinds. Let in any light possible! I find that my mood is instantly lifted on a sunny day. -Alternatively, I just purchased a light box. Light therapy gives off light that mimics the sun. It is meant to aid in recovery from seasonal affective disorder by sitting in front of the light for about 30 minutes a day. It helps to stimulate your body’s normal reaction to sunlight and keep your natural release of melatonin in check. I have used the box for the past week. I turn it on while I have my tea and breakfast for a half hour. I will keep you posted on the long term but I do feel it is helping with my energy.
- Exercise & Diet. It’s quite amazing how sticking to a healthy diet and keeping the body moving can change your mindset. A symptom of SAD is craving carbs and sugary foods. I found that as soon as I switched to a low carb, no processed sugar diet; I started to gain my energy back. Carbs=lethargy If you’re anything like me the love of junk food is hard to break. Simple changes make all the difference and for me is cutting out bread, pasta, candy and all the processed sugars. Do what works best for you!
- Make a schedule and stick to it. Keep busy. I try to make a list for myself the night before of the things I want to accomplish for the next day. It really helps to cross things off the list and say, “I did that today!”. And most importantly, don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t complete everything on the list. Just making an effort is enough. I’m definitely known for putting too much pressure on myself. DON’T!
My kind of interchangeable day to day things are, Self care, taking St. Johns Wort, & Essential Oils. With seasonal depression each day is different. So, I usually try to listen to my body and give it what it needs. Make time to relax. One of the first things I do in the morning is light some candles and turn on my oil diffuser with something that will help me relax (usually lavender or eucalyptus). At night, if I can’t relax for bed I will make some decaffeinated tea of some kind and do a face or hair mask. I think it’s so important to take care of YOU during the time when you’re not particularly feeling yourself. Doesn’t have to be a long drawn out process, even a nice bath would do. (I wish I had a bath tub…).
With Spring just around corner I hope to slowly be coming out of this. I hope my tips are helpful-even to those who don’t suffer from SAD. Just general winter combat tips. Thank you for taking the time to read! 2 weeks until day light savings, but who’s counting??
Disclaimer: I’m not a professional. If you have any concerns, suicidal or harmful thoughts talk with your doctor. These are just things that work for me and I have found help me during these winter months.