Each year I deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder or the winter blues. Last year the depression became a scary so I was ready to be proactive this year. It suprised me early. We have had cold dreary weather with nary a glimpse of sun until today. My Christmas joy came crashing down pretty quickly.
I have some natural ways I am dealing with this before I resort to medicine. Don't get me wrong, I don't have anything against meds. I have taken antidepressents in the past. I do have two reasons I prefer not to take anything. First, I am still nursing Logan and two, weight gain. Now the second might seem silly but I am not sure which would affected my mood more, lack of sun or regaining the weight I have worked so hard to lose. Trust me, this close to 40 I had to earn every one of those lost pounds in sweat and exhaustion.
Here is what I am doing to combat this dreary, crabby seasonal visitor.
Depression makes me crave carbs that are not good for me and sugar, traditional comfort foods. In the long run, those cravings will make me feel worse. So I look to nurturing food to help me through. I have increased my fruit and veggie intake, whole grains, and lowfat dairy. I have drastically cut my sugar consumption. I have some smaller size York Peppermint Patties that satisfy my sweet tooth. I try to ingest my vitamins through food but I have went back to prenatal vitamins. I am eating more vitamin C rich foods. I am looking for a quality Omega 3 supplement.
I don't feel like exercising at all but I need it the most right now. I start intensive training for a half marathon in mid January. That should provide more than enough exercise. I am exercising at a slightly reduced capacity until that training starts. I think it is going to kick my heinie.
I constantly have lavender, sandlewood, citrus, or a lovely blend burning in candle form or in the form of some essential oil product. This is a surpisingly huge benefit to my mood.
Now more than ever I have the need for a tidy and clean environment. If I let this go, my mood quickly plummets. Daily straightening and some key chores keep everything up to snuff, so to speak.
For me, showering and putting on a little makeup goes a long way to keeping my mood balanced. On the really bad days I even pull out the eyeliner and make sure I have on fairly nice clothes. If I let myself be frumpy, my mind and emotions soon follow.
Intentionally Choosing My Thoughts and Focus
This is the biggest one of all. I ran into this amazing quote recently:
"If I did not simply live one moment to the next, it would be impossible for me to keep my patience. I can only see the present, I forget the past and I take good care not to think about the future. We get discouraged and feel despair because we brood about the past and future. It is such folly to pass one's time fretting, instead of resting quiety in the heart of Jesus.
This speaks volumes to me. I choose each day, each momennt to live right now, to be right now. I want to be really present for my child, my husband, my life. I want to experience those moments as fully as I can and savor them. This act keeps me focused on the now and keeps me centered. That staves off the depression better than anything. Dreaming about the coming spring is no help if all it makes you realize is that spring is many long, cold, dark months away.
I tell you this to be authentic in my life and in my words. I often speak about choosing joy and fully immersing yourself in the moment. Those are wonderful and true things but this struggle is also a wonderful and true thing about me. This is another part of who I am. I want people to understand that all your parts are amazing because they come together to form who you are. Even the scary or less desirable parts shape you, maybe those even moreso.