Happy New Year!
My first post of 2019 and we’re already halfway through the month. Womp Womp.
In my last post, I shared my 19 goals for 2019. I’ll admit, it was a pretty ambitious list. And while it’s been keeping me accountable and providing inspiration to go after the things I want in my life, there have been a few setbacks.
I shared this raw and personal moment on my instagram last week. Not one of my finest or proudest memories but I have no regrets. It is no secret that during the months between November and February, I want to hide away and hibernate. And while I know I’m not alone, I struggle with accepting my Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s challenging, frustrating and super inconvenient. But sure enough, in it’s timely fashion, the last few weeks brought on the familiar symptoms:
- Constantly tired – I was feeling sleepy and fatigued all the time and found it challenging to wind down at night.
- Strong emotions – I was attending a round the clock pity party for myself that was accompanied by constant anxious, negative and guilty thoughts and feelings.
- Overeating – I was literally eating all my feelings (which was delicious in the moment).
- Self-Doubt – I found myself constantly second-guessing and overthinking everything which made it a lot harder to be productive.
- Difficulties Concentrating – I found it challenging to be present and focused at home, work and with friends and loved ones.
So, how am I dealing with SAD? There’s been some trial and error but I’ve finally decided to be kinder to myself and started to use these coping strategies.
If you’re having a hard time this winter, why not give some of these a try.
- Create a nightly self-care routine. Over the last few weeks, I’ve created a consistent routine that sets the stage for sleep. This consists of a hot beverage, one extensive and somewhat self-indulgent skin care regimen and a guided meditation with Tara Brach, while wearing a fuzzy lavender-infused sleep mask. It makes me feel fancy and keeps things nice and dark for sleep.
- Reach out. When I’m feeling low, I naturally want to be alone. But when this happens, I create an action plan to reach out to friends and loved ones. When I spend time with people I love, I’m able to cope better with stressful situations and focus on something other than my problems. It’s not easy and takes some opposite action (ie. forcing myself to make plans when I just want to hide in bed) but when I’m around people I always feel safe, supported and energized.
- Move. Whatever works. A walk around the block. Zumba at the Y. Swimming with your kid. Do the same thing every day or switch it up. Whatever you decide, just do something that will get your heart pumping. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day and try to find something you enjoy. If you don’t get any joy or fulfillment from exercise (don’t worry, you’re not alone), squad up. Find people with like minded goals and hit the gym with a friend.
- Start some light therapy. A few years ago my parents bought me the Phillips goLITE energy light but I only recently started to actually use it. During the holidays, I discovered my espresso intake had increased dramatically so I decided to finally give this little machine a shot. One of my doctor’s at CAMH recommended that I use it for fifteen minutes as soon as I wake up in the morning. At first, I felt silly. But after the first few days, I found myself looking forward to the morning boost of brightness.
This winter, these coping strategies have been helpful in reducing my symptoms but I would love to hear from you. Do you deal with SAD during the winter months? How do you cope or support loved ones? Please share with me below!
Hello Jen! All your strategies sound really great. Winter can be horrible and also struggling with depression can be very hard and tiring. I have a lot of those symptoms as well. I know how you feel. The light therapy sounds really intriguing. Lovely blog and I’m enjoying reading your articles. Maria