Normally I wake up every morning without an alarm. The thought of coffee and my enthusiasm for what the day has in store usually motivates me enough to at least get out of bed, but lately I have found myself dragging.
Instead of bouncing out of bed like usual, all I want to do is close my eyes and sleep. Sure, I know I am lucky that I’m even capable of being a morning person- but it’s aggravating when that feeling flips. Over the past week I have been pressing snooze every five minutes with a wave of anxiety coming over me as I think about my daily obligations. Once I make it out of bed and into the cold air of my bedroom, I hop right in the shower because I’m too lazy to make coffee. Too lazy to make coffee?
This is a serious cry for help.
Although I don’t have any pressing reasons to feel anxious, I do have to remember that this winter- although more mild than winters in the past- is different. This winter I am in an entirely new place, with a new job, living with new people. My family and friends are miles away, and while I know I should get out more, meet new people and enjoy the city, my motivation is at zero- it’s just too damn cold. I spent the entire weekend in bed with Netflix, completely ignoring all of my “self-love” tips I normally write about.
If everything is going fine, why do I feel so lethargic?
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD, the perfect acronym!) has hit me hard this year- and the lack of sun has altered my mood more than I thought it would. Despite doing everything I can to manage my stress, stay mindful, accept others, refuel the soul and live a minimal lifestyle, I still feel… awful.
SAD is a subtype of major depression, but is just as serious! While those who suffer from major depression experience symptoms year-round, those with SAD see changes in mood as the seasons change (typically winter, but it’s been seen in some spring/summer cases!). The most common symptoms of SAD include lack of energy, feelings of hopelessness, difficulty concentrating, changes in sleep and appetite, a lack of interest in enjoyable activities and even thoughts of death or suicide. Although these feelings can come and go, they’re very disruptive and unsettling… I can attest to this firsthand.
According to Mental Health America, four out of five people diagnosed with SAD are women, and the main age of onset is between age 20-30. Seeing as I fit that demographic (I have been experiencing SAD for as long as I can remember!), I began searching for alternative ways to kick the blues without seeing a doctor or taking medication.
Let there be light– Why not bring your own sunshine? I found this Verilux Happy Light at Bed Bath and Beyond to help fight fatigue, regain focus, and improve your mood. Whether it’s for the office or home, at $40 you can afford one for both!
Exercise– Make a work-out schedule and stick to it, no matter how lazy you feel. I skipped my weekend activities due to the blues, and felt even worse as a result. I put a yoga mat in my room as a reminder to get active, whether I do some yoga at home or grab my shoes for a jog!
Avoid alcohol– Personally, alcohol doesn’t agree with me- it makes me feel more depressed than I already do. Instead of sipping your sorrows away, consider the fact that alcohol is a depressant. Opt for a healthy choice, like a vitamin-filled juice to give you energy.
Talk to someone– Support always works wonders; remember, you are not alone!
Winter doesn’t have to be a gloomy- so bundle up, put on your shades and a smile. If it can help me, I promise it can help you, too.