Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) for me, and many others I'm sure, the struggle is real. Despite my very best effort, it seems as though each and every year there is at least a brief period of time that I'm forced to deal with some form of seasonal depression. I lack energy, I'm irritable, and I don't even want to put on real pants and leave my house... Can I get an AMEN? So in case you're in need of some inspiration, I've developed a list of 6 things that you can start doing TODAY- maybe even RIGHT NOW to start kicking SAD's ass.
- Drink Some Damn Water. This seems so simple, but all I want to do is drink coffee and carb-out right now. However, we all understand that our bodies are made up of around 70% water, so it is only logical that dehydration can have a powerful negative affect on your overall health, which can include feelings of lethargy, headaches, and even depression. So drink up! Side note: Thirst can also oftentimes be mistaken for hunger, so before you grab that bag of chips have a glass or two of water.
- Practice Mindfulness. Mindfulness is something you may, or may not have heard about. Personally, I've been seeing it everywhere simply because I know it's something I want to work on this year and am not paying enough attention to. (HA. Funny how that works out sometimes, isn't it?) People with depression are often said to be living in the past, while people with anxiety are worrying about the future. Mindfulness focuses on living in the present moment, aiming to achieve an awareness of your thoughts and feelings in a relaxed and non-judgmental way. Not sure where to start? Try visiting Mindful.org. They can help get you going.
- Do Something (Even Something Small) For Yourself. Take a freaking mental health day! I am a huge advocate for eliminating the over-glorification of being "busy". Clear your schedule UNAPOLOGETICALLY and do something, anything, for yourself. This does not have to be expensive or even for a very long period of time if you just don't have it. Make a cup of hot tea, light some candles, take a bath, take a hike, take a NAP.
- Get Outside In The Sunshine. Bundle yourself up and go take a walk around the block. OR if it is really just too cold and dreary out or there is a foot of snow on the ground, get in the car and take a drive or go park that thing in the sun somewhere for a little while.
- Sleep. If you have a small child (or children) you may not even remember what this is like, but I assure you, it is imperative. Especially during the colder months of the year, or any time you are experiencing an increase in stress. So pretty much ALL of the time. I get it, I do. I'm a single mom, I work full-time, I'm finishing up one degree to start another, and I'm a sideprenuer. Sleep often eludes me. However, sleep plays a vital role in your life, and quality sleep protects your mental health, physical health and safety. Sleep deficiency is also linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Ummmm... No thanks.
- Exercise. Stay with me here. I didn't even want to put this on the list because, to be honest, I fully understand how difficult it is to muster the energy to get up and go exercise when you are stuck in the trenches of life. It is hard enough to get up and go to work everyday, or to take care of the kids, the last thing you want to do is go for a jog- especially if you're like me, and exercising isn't something you particularly like to do when you're feeling good. My advice is: You have to start where you are, and keep things realistic. If that means you can only get up and dance through one song- GET IT, GIRL.
There are several other things that could have made the list as well, but I really wanted to focus on a "jump start" with some things I thought most folks could get going on today. What are some things that you do to help get you through this time of year?