Say hello (and goodbye) to Seasonal Affective Disorder

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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:

  • Meditation
  • 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?

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Every Day Kindness

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It’s been quite the year, and it’s only October.  While it has been an insightful time of growth and self discovery, I still can’t help but feel discouraged and saddened by what is going on in the world around us.  The negativity in the United States is getting worse, which only fuels more anger and resentment.  There is always someone to point the finger at and someone to criticize.  Where is the love?

I’ve been growing tired of living in a world that seems to only care about other people and major problems in the face of tragedy…. and that I’m becoming desensitized to such events as they happen so often.  Every few months there is something worse than the last.  What are we all doing on the days when there isn’t a major tragedy or natural disaster?

Each and every small action we take matters.

Let’s think about our neighbors every day, not just when people get hurt, please.  I hope we begin to see more action, and less social media statuses and complaints.  Kindness doesn’t need to be talked about, either.  It just happens. 

Actions speak louder than words.  

We can help others, spread kindness, volunteer, and advocate for what we believe in 365 days a year- not just when there are mass shootings, deaths, and natural disasters.

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Visit KindaKind.com for inspirational stories, 365 days of kindness, and to learn new ways to spread love and kindness around you.  I have written some posts there, too.

Aligning With Your Authenticity

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As I strolled down Charles Street in Beacon Hill on my way to work this morning, I thought about a certain spring day about a year and a half ago.  I had a meeting which required me to wear “business professional” attire, something I dropped from my wardrobe years ago.  Every time I hear “business professional,” I get a pit in my stomach and can practically smell burnt coffee in break room kitchens.

As a fashion marketer and creative person, nothing makes me cringe more than a suit jacket or stodgy pair of pants.  I can’t even remember what the meeting was for that day, but I’m assuming it was some kind of administrative job interview that would be “stable.”  Ever since graduating college ten years ago, I have been torn between following my heart and being practical, not realizing I could do both.  I’ve been freelancing since 2008 but have worked a variety of jobs which bored me to tears.  I never have done well with rules or set guidelines- I love a challenge, taking ownership, or anything entrepreneurial.

Anyway, I felt gross and uncomfortable after the meeting.  I grabbed a coffee and changed into my signature little black dress.  Whew!  Feeling a million times better, I snapped a selfie in front of Chanel and headed to see an actor I was dating who lived on Park Avenue (I can tell you which Wolf of Wall Street or Broad City scenes he was in, if you’d like).  My life has never been vanilla, and it never will be.  

I finally accept that this is okay.

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I used to think something was wrong with me; nothing in life seemed fulfilling and I constantly craved change.

As I unsuccessfully tried to live on freelance projects, a family member scolded me about my New York lifestyle.  “I didn’t move to New York City to sit in an office all day!” I cried.  I sat with guilt and shame for months about this, wondering if I was a failure at life.  Although my heart continually told me to follow my dreams and stick with something creative, in the back of my mind I thought, “what will people think or say?”  At that point in time I still hadn’t acknowledged or accepted my authentic self- I was one foot in, one foot out.  Now I realize that opportunities didn’t work out because I didn’t believe in myself.

Who will believe in you if you don’t?

This past year may not have been easy, but it has been wonderful.  I have devoted my time to learning who I am, writing, and developing a strong spiritual foundation.  I could continue to try and fit in the “box” of society or to live the “American Dream,” but that would never make me happy.  It’s just not me.

Each day I seem to learn something new and feel more and more comfortable speaking up and standing in my truth.  I wasn’t born to live out someone else’s dream or to do what my family expects of me- I’m on this earth to listen to what my heart tells me and to share my talents and skills where I am lead.

Today as I approached work, wearing a little black dress and flats, I admired the beautiful Public Garden.  “This is life,” I thought.  After all of my experiences, struggles, and self doubt, I am beyond grateful to have a balance between creativity and stability.  Thanks to having faith, a little courage and a lot of passion, I have aligned myself with opportunities that suit my lifestyle, my talents, and have found people who appreciate me for me- not my resume or a suit jacket.

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