We’ve all been there: daylight savings hits, the brisk air of winter slowly settles in, and seasonal depression starts to creep into our everyday lives. Now add a pandemic, the stress-inducing 2020 Election, oh, and mass unemployment––life is tough, and this year’s seasonal depression is on another level!
Even so, there are ways to not only battle the cold but revel in what the new season has to offer. Here are a few relatively simple ways to fight back and find happiness during this seasonal shift.
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Suffering from depression often feels like an invisible weight, covering just about every aspect of your life. It’s a sensation that most can’t begin to explain; like a feeling of hopelessness seeps into even the most mundane tasks. There have been days that I could barely step out of bed. Clicking through channels felt like a burden, nevermind attempting to accomplish any major goals.
So, take it easy on yourself. Jackie Guardiola, MS, LPC-intern for the state of Texas explains, “giving grace and giving yourself space to mess up, space to let these taboo feelings out, to address them…,” is crucial to getting over the hump of seasonal depression. Pat yourself on the back for waking up, placing your feet on the ground, and stumbling to the bathroom. “Celebrate the little wins,” Guardiola expresses
These are the small victories you should acknowledge and rejoice in daily.
2. Set a Routine
Sticking to a consistent schedule sounds minute, but it can truly enhance your mood. Your body gets accustomed to organization and stability, so dedicate an hour a day to yourself and get in touch with what brings you ultimate happiness.
As a single, childless woman I feel like I can never have too much me-time. My sister will confirm that she’s frequently found me sitting in my room with a bottle of wine and nibbling on every random snack that inhabits my pantry. That’s how I cope.
Fit whatever you need for valuable decompression time into your daily/weekly/monthly routine. Having something to look forward to drives joy––or at the very least, distracts you from feelings of depression.
3. Find a Professional
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: talk it out!
Bottling up crippling seasonal depression will only drag you into a state of gloom. Express these emotions to a professional, a close friend, or your family––whoever makes you feel heard or comforted.
Keeping everything in is detrimental to your overall health. I’m working on this myself because I’ve honestly been through it this year. I lost my job, broke up with my boyfriend of a month, and hooked up with a gang of douchebags to ease the pain of depression.
A great place to start could be with platforms like Therapy for Black Girls, which is a directory of Black therapists in your area. Dr. Joy Harden Bradford also has a really great podcast for when you don’t necessarily want to talk to someone but could use some healthy tips and advice.So, it’s time for you and me to stop camouflaging our feelings and receive guidance.
4. Get the D
Not that D, even though it reduces stress as well.
Nothing hits like sunlight caressing your skin, beaming over shadows of doubt. Why do you think California sunshine is associated with pure happiness? If the second wave of Covid wasn’t straggling around like an ex-boyfriend, then I would suggest venturing off on a beach vacation to escape early darkness.
Instead, take a walk or ride your bike around the block, maybe even have a cold beer on a patio. Take advantage of whatever you can do to bottle up some rays!
5. Write it Out
Channel your inner Issa Rae and jot down your feelings.As a kid I would run to my diary to confess my innermost thoughts, so why not continue this as an adult?
Taking note of how you’re feeling often serves as a release. Rant, capitalize every letter or talk to yourself through written word. Express your emotions without judgment.
I tend to struggle with journaling because creating content is bound to my livelihood, so I lose inspiration to manage my personal struggles through text. Don’t be like me, get creative and write all about it.
6. Eat Clean-ish
The people that know me personally are probably rolling their eyes at me mentioning clean eating. I live for junk food!
Catch me binging on pizza and Whataburger after Sunday brunch. There’s no shame in enjoying fast food, even if it’s unhealthy.But our mental health is directly affected by the food we consume, so it’s imperative that our diets support our well-being.
Meal prep or stock your fridge with fresh veggies because a week of eating clean can clear your mind.
There’s no easy fix to depression of any form but working towards effectively coping with these feelings is crucial. Do what makes you feel good. Focus on the now and don’t beat yourself up, because you aren’t alone in this struggle.
To be completely transparent, I’ve been avoiding writing this piece because I’m currently suffering from moments of hopelessness myself. Still, it’s been therapeutic to dissect my personal struggle while actively researching ways to manage these emotions.
We got this, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the moment!