As the days get shorter and colder, I’ve noticed it’s been a challenge for me to get out of bed in the morning. Mornings are usually my favorite time of day; I’m up early, ready for coffee and to get moving. However, once fall rolls around, I find myself doing the exact opposite- feeling numb and wanting to stay on bed.
Even on my days off I’ve had a hard time motivating myself to get out of the house, socialize, or get things done… then it hit me: it’s Seasonal Affective Disorder.
It’s that time of year when we begin to wind down from summer, let go of the past, and prepare for the dark months ahead; and it’s only normal for us to feel a little “off.”
I’ve needed to find small, simple joys to get myself through these past couple of weeks. I’ve had to not only live “one day at a time,” but also moment by moment. It’s easy to get dragged down by the grind, cold weather, and the decreasing sunlight that I have fallen short in writing out my morning gratitudes, making plans with friends, and spending time in nature. The things I enjoy the most and hobbies that come naturally to me have been pushed aside as I have sat in a pattern of discomfort.
Acknowledging your Affective Disorder is the first step!
SAD usually affects me the most when I’m in a routine- waking up, going to work, going home, going to sleep, repeat. I’ve distracted myself from the turn of the season in previous years through major life changes- getting a new job, moving to a new city or filling my time with a major project, relationship or a hobby. At the moment my life is pretty stable- no major changes or events in the near future- so I need to make a conscious effort to keep my spirits up. Life is about living, not just going through the motions.
I decided to make a list of things to look forward to every day, including the things I need to remember to do to stay in balance:
- Morning coffee
- Enjoying the sunrise by the river
- Writing a list of gratitudes
- Eating balanced meals (remembering to eat is a big one for me)
- Going for plenty of walks throughout the day
- Checking in with friends
- Reading positive / inspirational books
- Avoiding social media / negative news
- Journaling, drawing, and painting- anything creative!
- Discovering new events and hobbies- make a calendar of things to do and look forward to
- Self care- painting nails, getting a massage, enjoying a cup of tea
Remember, you’re not alone… and acknowledging that “this too shall pass” is so important right now! What helps you get through seasonal depression?