A Personal Experience with Seasonal Affective Disorder
Hello everyone! Long time, no post. I haven’t been feeling myself the past couple weeks, however I’m back and feeling better with a few tricks I have come across that I want to share. First, I want to start by saying I struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which is defined as “depression associated with late autumn and winter and thought to be caused by a lack of light.” I also believe mine is caused by somewhat dreading the holiday season at times, and also feeling cold meaning I have to be confined inside during unpredictable Michigan weather. Therefore, I found it necessary to take a week or so to myself without any posts or much interaction on the internet in general. However, I am back and feeling more optimistic after relaxing, doing some self-care, and researching mindfulness. For this post, I want to talk about what worked for me and other things I have been researching that I feel are going to help me make this winter season better than last!
I let myself feel down/upset for a solid week. I could tell I was hurting the relationships in my life. Honestly, being upset and sad is just easier at times. I wasn’t the most pleasant to go out to eat with or come home to. I didn’t have much interest in talking on the phone with my family or even blogging, which I love. After some time, I started realizing the damage I was doing not only to myself, but to the people I care most about. At some point, I think we all open our eyes and say to ourselves “I don’t want to feel like this anymore…I don’t want to spend my life being sad.” Easier said than done though, right? Right. And that’s OK. As long as we keep trying to put in the effort.
I know, I know…it sounds cheesy and desperate at times. I wouldn’t say I’m the kind of person who typically enjoys reading for fun or uses it as a coping skill. After I stumbled upon ‘First We Make The Beast Beautiful; by Sarah Wilson, I was hooked (book review still to come!) I learned so much insight about myself and the anxious feelings I was having – and still have. I realized that reading kept my thoughts busy, and I also learned new tips and tricks along the way. So, self-help books it is. Since reading that, I have read ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ by Matt Haig (another book review yet to come) which I loved. Currently, I am about halfway through ‘Present Over Perfect’ by Shauna Niequist which is a little more religious in nature than I anticipated, however it talks a great deal about faith and trust in general. I got all of these books on Amazon. The past couple of weeks I have set aside at least 30 minutes a day to read – whether is be on my lunch break or before bed. My favorite is to read after cleaning the living space and lighting a candle (:
OK, also perhaps desperate. But also efficient. This morning, for example, I headed into work and was feeling less than motivated for the day. Pinterest is an awesome website to use for just about anything as far as inspiration, DIY ideas, or networking goes. So, when I got to work I quickly typed in “motivation for the morning” and hundreds of motivational quotes and tips popped up that I found super useful. It was a simple idea and worked wonders. Currently I am feeling much better, and even talked myself up to write this post, after not posting in over a week (which I have been feeling very guilty about.) A few days ago I also wrote down several positive affirmation quotes after typing into Pinterest “affirmations for anxiety and overthinking” so I can refer to this notebook when I am having another not-so-good day. I also have a sticker on my mirror that I purchased from Free and Above’s website that says ‘Better days are to come’ and I remind myself that they will come, as long as I make the effort.
Starting the Morning Positively
Very recently I have started being more mindful of this and how I wake up in the morning. I have been trying to snooze my alarm less often (this is still very much a work in progress.) My goal is by the beginning of next week, Monday, I can wake up to my first alarm without snoozing it! Wish me luck. I have also started trying to say positive things in the morning to the people in my house, wishing them a good day and not complaining about anything that early in the morning. I’ve realized that by starting my day positively, I have felt much less anxious throughout the day and it puts me in a good mindset. My suggestion for you is to say “stop” out loud to any negative thoughts in the morning, replacing them with something you are grateful for or looking forward to in the day.
These 3 simple tricks have done wonders for me lately and have not taken up too much time. It’s all a matter of finding the motivation within yourself to change your mood around. Yes, I said feeling sad is easier. But with practice, patience, and mindfulness, it will eventually be easier and feel easier to be happy! It takes 21 days to make something a habit. Practice mindfulness for at least 30 minutes a day and remember to do at least one (1) thing for yourself each day.
What I am still researching and looking into for the winter season is a weighted blanket and a therapy light box. Do any of you have either of these? What is your experience? Do you find them beneficial to your mental health? Thanks for reading and staying loyal to this blog, even when I feel less than up to writing sometimes myself. I am feeling much better and look forward to continuing this journey. I hope you find the motivation to do the same.