Honestly, I can’t even tell you how many years I went through this cycle of being OH SO excited for the craziness of the holidays, and then feeling the crash of it all coming to an end every January and wondering why the heck I felt so…BLAH. Anybody with me on this? That thing that many like to call, “seasonal depression.”
For some, that hits as soon as the cold starts. Or worse, when the holidays start. It can be a really hard time of year for many people. But for me, it’s usually the long stretch after Christmas. Longing for and anticipating spring time.
I didn’t even realize the whole pattern of it all until after I had my daughter. I journaled throughout my pregnancy with her, so the first winter after she was born, I busted out my pregnancy doodles sometime in mid-January and to my surprise it was like I was being smacked in the face with déjà vu.
So I started to look into the whole theory of it and learned it’s a real diagnosis for people. MIND BLOWN. Especially for someone who was semi-convinced that depression wasn’t really a legit thing. You know, like it’s more of a choice to feel that way? Gosh it’s funny how adulthood mixed with some parenthood can really show you how much you DON’T actually know.
Now I’m sure you get the gist of what I’m saying here. Seasonal depression is a real thing. As is any kind of depression. And it very much sucks. Even now as I’m bundled up on my couch in front of my Christmas tree, feeling all holly jolly – I can tell you that in a few short weeks, my motivation will be lost. And my “get up and go” attitude will be something I will have to fight for daily.
But stay with me here! There is hope! If you feel like maybe this is something that you suffer from, I’m here to tell you that the rest of the cold winter doesn’t have to be all that bad. Cold…yes. But bad? Nah. My go-to tips – the ones that I’ll have to remind myself of come January 15th-ish – all start with just a few simple gestures.
Yep. Crazy, right? Personally, I love to indulge in large amounts of hot caffeinated beverages during the dreaded cold months. But, when I stay on top of my water game, my mind is much more focused.
Even though water is obviously not caffeinated, oddly enough it gives us the boost we need to get going. Get creative with it. Start a water challenge group. Or get on trusty Amazon and order you one of those fancy bottles that tells you when you need to drink more water. Set timers. Whatever you’ve got to do sister, just do it. You will feel so much better.
Bundle up and get outside
I know friends. It’s cold. Cold is no fun. I’ll even call it miserable! But trust me on this. Staying cooped up inside all day isn’t the life. Especially for a fellow seasonal depressioner (not a word but fitting) like yourself. And since we live in the beautiful state of Colorado, we get an abundance of sun-filled days. So even when it’s cold out, you can still catch some rays that are much needed to boost your mood.
Whether it be a walk – and nooo, not just to your car to grab Starbucks – or a short stroll, a park adventure with your little, or even some short stretches in the fresh air, just get out and breathe, move, repeat.
Fill your calendar
This one is a little hard to actually do, especially when you’re in the midst of seasonal depression. But just try. Choose 3 days out of the week to do something outside of your home. Choose wisely because you’ll want to book your weeks up with things that actually sound appealing so you don’t cancel last minute and stay home, just to turn off your water timer and replace it with 10 cups of coffee! Been there done that.
What a dang cliché right? It’s January and someone is telling you to work out – I KNOW! Here’s the thing though. I’ve learned that through my many years of working out so hard for the first couple of weeks, and then letting it just fall off the face of the earth, it doesn’t have to be anything crazy.
One day I was dancing in the living room with my two year old for a solid 30 minutes. When I got done, I was DRENCHED in sweat and was feeling like a million bucks.
It hit me that wow, that was a workout. And a fun one at that. I didn’t need to go to the gym, or put on an at-home workout that always seemed to get turned off halfway through because I just wasn’t feeling it.
When you’re doing something for the simple fact of just needing to feel better, you don’t need a strategic fitness plan in action. For abs, yes…probably. But we’re just trying to survive January through whenever the heck the crummy feeling fades. And for that, you just need to move that body, mama!
This too shall pass
Know that the warm sun will be upon us soon. And everything will seem to fall into place again. Try to eat well, but don’t obsess. Don’t binge drink all the leftover wine from New Year’s Eve, either. Sounds fun, but it really won’t elevate your mood. At least not in the motivating/progress kind of way. And remember you’re absolutely not alone with this whole ordeal. We can and will get through this together! – hair flip –