December is here and this month I will be participating in blogmas! I’m excited about being creative and writing about the holidays in general, however me being a mental health care provider I wanted to write about the reality of this time of year and the emotions that come with it.
Yes, the holidays can bring us bliss and joy, but it also can be painful for others. During this time of year people may experience sadness, stress, anger or all-around irritability. I know for me personally I have battled with all those emotions.
One cause of this may be the seasons changing. We go from sunny weather, swimming pools, cute simple clothes. To cold weather, cloudy, rainy days, layers of clothes and the sun going down around five pm.
Seasonal Depression is a real thing!
Some signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder are : fatigued, withdrawal from activities that you typically would enjoy, a hard time concentrating or focusing, sleeping too much or not enough, a sense of hopelessness when this is not usually your demeanor, body aches and pains, irritability being emotional one minute and sad the next, appetite change, anxiety, and finally engaging in impulsive or compulsive behaviors to cope.
If every year around the holiday season you find yourself with one or more of the following symptoms, I have some tips for surviving this time of year.
- Get active, I know yall hear me preach this a lot, but it is the truth. Exercising can alleviate majority of the symptoms listed above, if you can workout outside even better, however if the weather or time doesn’t allow, working out in general will make you feel better.
- Allow natural sunlight to come inside of your homes, offices or classroom. If you are able to eat lunch outside or take a walk on your break, it is helpful to your mood. ( I did it today actually)
- Sticking to a schedule. I recently had to make an adjustment to my schedule, because I was overwhelmed by all of my emotions. I wanted to face my worries head on instead of wallowing in sadness or anger. I’ve been feeling both emotions probably everyday since September.
Some people might feel like my schedule is a bit much, but I believe my mental health is important especially because I pour into so many people, so I have to be ok because I can’t pour from an empty cup.
4 am Christian Mindfulness
5:30 get dressed for work
6 devotional time (studying the bible)
6:30 drop my daughter off at her bus stop
6:50 listen to my favorite podcast on the way to work
(continue to meal prep and make a to-do list for the workday)
5:00 pm blog or read for entertainment (no cell phones until 8 pm)
6:45 pm watch a show and spend quality time with my daughter
8:00 pm mindfulness
Sticking to this schedule will one allow me to be obedient to what God has requested of me in this season, but it is also beneficial to my overall health.
- Gratitude journals, again this is something else I preach on my blog, but gratitude truly does change not only our minds, but the posture of our heart when we are facing or in the midst of a difficult season.
- Finally diet and vitamins. People that battle depression are usually lacking in a vitamin D deficiency. If I’m being honest, I have been lacking in taking my Vitamin D and B12 which naturally gives me energy. Watching what we eat is important too. I haven’t had much of an appetite but because my snacks are small and my lunch, I don’t feel overwhelmed with the thought of eating. In the past I shared my struggle with overeating for comfort and I don’t want to over or under indulge. Meal prepping and being mindful about what I feed my body and the different fruits and vegetables that help with battling a mood disorder in general is vital to my overall mental health. This component probably is the hardest but once you develop the habit of eating healthy, your mind and body will thank you later! So, it is definitely worth it.
I want to encourage anyone who may have these symptoms to do a spiritual fast, ask God what he is trying to bring out of you in this particular season. Ask him to align the right people, or put the right things in front of you, so you can enjoy this time of year with love, joy and laughter.
My prayer: father God, I know you are a healer. I asked that you lift the heaviness, burdens, loss, anger or maybe even confusion from anyone that may be hurting. I pray that you give them wisdom in all areas that can need to be cleaned up and if they need professional help allow them to get the support they need with no blockage. It is in your name I trust amen.
Your Sista on the Sofa ,