Seasonal Depression typically occurs in individuals when the seasons shift from fall to winter. To put it simply, days get shorter and moods begin to decline. There is typically less interaction with individuals and we spend more time alone in our homes. Winter holidays are fun and merry but also a triggering time for many who spend them alone. This can also be a difficult time for individuals struggling with loss of relationships through distance or death. What would it look like for you to overcome this annual battle with seasonal depression ? What would be different in your life? How could your day to day life improve? When it comes to seasonal depression, mindset is essential. Let’s work on how to shift your mindset!
And no: we’re not talking about a simple one time thought that will free you from the symptoms of seasonal depression . This is about you becoming in charge of your thoughts, your mind, your energy, in whatever capacity you choose. And that’s the most important takeaway that it gets to be defined by you.
Keep reading! This isn’t about giving you miracle strategies. There’s not a cookie cutter answer to overcoming “the winter blues”. This is about sharing what has worked for me and empowering you to recognize how much power you hold within yourself to enhance your day to day well being no matter what time of the year.
Season depression is feeling sad, lack of motivation, low energy , sleep difficulties just to name a few as a result of the shift of seasons from summer to fall and winter. We can also include the influence of social media, a global pandemic, a rise in racial injustices , increase in violence, decrease in access to financial means and resources. We all have been impacted in some way by the negativity in the world around us. This may make this year more difficult than years past for many individuals. It’s easy to get into the comparison trap of basing our own lives against those around us. As humans we have basic needs for belonging , love, and meaning in our own lives.
Here’s what has helped me shift my own mindset:
1. Find Your Tribe- Growing up as an only child, my tribe became very important to me. My tribe now consists of the dopest group of women a girl could ever wish for in a lifetime. My tribe consists of friends I’ve know from a few weeks to over 20 years. Each and every one of them have inspired and supported me in some way. Meredith Grey said it best, “what if our girlfriends are really our soulmates…. “. I feel this so much. I could not imagine life without my tribe. So during difficult times, you must lean on your people. If you are at a point in your life where you haven’t found these people, go find them! You are worth it and I know there’s a tribe waiting for you. I found mine in high school, college, networking events, boot camp classes, professional settings, my children’s sports, just to name a few places. Don’t be afraid to take the first step to meet someone knew. From what I’ve learned and experienced, most women are looking for their tribe , so they would be eager to accept an invitation from someone nee.
2. Get Creative- Write, journal, start a diary, paint , sing loud in the car like you’re recording in a studio. Do the thing that gives you life. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day tasks that life brings all of us. It’s easy to forget who we are at our core. Get up and get creative! Do something that makes you smile and makes you happy. We are all creative individuals, sometimes it just gets buried. Finding your creative side can ignite something inside that helps you battle the tough times. It gives you a new perspective and a new outlet to maybe even try something new.
3. Find people who make you laugh. Give yourself some grace. It’s been a crazy 2 years. A couple of weeks ago I went ice skating with my kids and fell …hard. I had it all on video and swore to never show anyone. The night of my daughters birthday I showed it to all my friends. We laughed until we cried. It was one of the funniest moments I’ve had in a awhile. Laughter is good for the soul. Life had fun moments and even funnier situations that come up when we least expect it. Look for those moments and embrace them to get through the tough times. When is the last time you had a really good laugh? The kind that makes you forget about everything else.
4. Get Moving- Studies show that exercise releases endorphins in the body. You know the happy stuff! Find the thing that sets your soul on fire and makes you feel like the boss lady that you are. For me, I love anything that is outdoors. Outside is my happy place. Take a walk in the park, go for a run and blast your favorite playlist, find a new spot in your city to go explore, go sit near the water and dream. Dream even bigger. The possibilities are endless. There is something so inspiring about nature and being outside that feels so real to me. I hope it can feel real for you too.
5. Find Gratitude – Find gratitude in every single day. Utilize an app or a journal and simply jot down 3-5 things you are grateful for every single day. It is so important to recognize your blessings day in and day out. Positive thoughts lead to positive actions. It’s that simple.
6. Get Coffee – I mean can there ever really be enough coffee in one’s life. Coffee is warm and comforting on a cold day or can be icy and refreshing on a sunny afternoon. Coffee can really be anything you want it to be, thanks to Starbucks! You know what’s even better than coffee, coffee with a friend. I have a friend who loves coffee more than I do. I love meeting up with her because to her I think it’s more than just coffee ,it’s part of her love language. Coffee brings people together. I have another friend that I meet with 1-2x a month at a local coffee shop. We plan out our days, talk friendship, shop online, and get our work done side by side. I use these examples to inspire you to invite someone for coffee. Coffee can be the perfect opportunity to meet someone new and have endless conversations about your lives. Coffee with a friend leaves me feeling like I can rule the world, that’s with a cup of coffee of course.
7. Find You – Find who you are and what makes you happy. Depression is real. It fights every inner thought you have and brings you down. Each day look deep inside, get real, get honest. Ask yourself the tough questions of how you got here in the front place. Often we are just surviving , going through life, not dealing with all the things along the way. You deserve to dig deep and find the things in life that make you feel complete. You are worth the exploration of finding the light from within that will help you dig through your own trenches. Find you. Be You. And know this, it will get better.