The purpose of my blog today is to shed light on seasonal depression and a survival guide to get through the winter months especially as a mom. Growing up in Florida for a good portion of my life I had never heard of seasonal depression. As someone who has suffered with depression for many years of my life and after going through postpartum depression in 2014, I realized something happening to my body every year from December to March. There are people that are going to read this and might think just get over it, you do not have it as worse as others do, there are other people that have it so much worse than you. However, if I can reach one person through this post it would be worth it. The more I would talk about it the more I realize how common it really is. I see you and I want you to know what your feeling is hard and valid. You are not crazy. For someone who may have no idea what seasonal depression is or symptoms of it,
- Low energy
- Feeling of hopelessness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Lack of interest in activities that usually make you happy.
- Lack of sun affecting serotine levels (which plays a crucial role in mood and emotions)
I am not a counselor or hold no medical degree. I am a mom who has been affected by this and the winter months are extremely hard for me. I know I am not the only one as I have had moms tell me that they also go through it. I just want to share my survival guide in how I have been able to get through it for the last couple of years and I keep adding to my guide every single year. I do not do all of these things every day. However, these are the things that have made the most difference.
1. Prescribed Vitamin D and antidepressants – thankfully, my medical provider saw the need for me to have this. She increases it during the winter months. I know many have different opinions of antidepressants. I usually am not on it for the summer months but during the winter months, especially the hard ones I usually am on it. It is not a miracle pill, but it takes the edge off what can be extremely hard to get through.
2. Getting Ready Every Day- I am not somebody who puts on makeup every day but during these months I tend to. I have noticed when I have been able to get out of my pajamas and put on regular clothes that it helps me a ton.
3. Social Media Detox- I always say social media affects people differently. I usually go through a detox every winter. I noticed if I am just sitting and scrolling, I end up feeling so much worse of myself. I try my best to limit or not be on social media at all.
4. Getting a gym friend- In the years past, I stopped going to the gym during the winter months. This past year I reached out on social media and asked if anyone was looking for a friend to go to the gym with. I was out of my comfort zone. I had one person reach out and it was the best thing. Every week I reach out and ask when she goes to the gym, and I join her on the days she goes. The gym she introduced me to also has amenities that also have helped.
5. Cleaning Timer- I noticed my house is a lot messier during the winter months. I usually do not have the energy to clean the whole house. I hope in the future to save up to afford a house cleaner to come during the winter months to help me out. However, one thing that is free that I have is a kitchen timer, or my phone timer. Some days I have 30 minutes, sometimes 10 minutes to give and that is what I put. I will do whatever I can in those minutes I have and when I am finished, I am finished for the day.
6. Family and Meals- Girl, warm up those nuggets! No shame or judgement. We eat a lot of frozen food during these months. If I have the energy, I will usually marinate a couple of meals and freeze. We do the best we can, and I promise our kids will survive. They also watch a lot of screen time during these months. I know what kind of advice are you giving you Amy? You do the best you can with what you have. It is enough.
7. Building a support system- For each person this may look different. I lean heavily on my Savior Jesus, my husband, my dog, my best friends, and my older cousin who I look at as my brother. It looks so different for each person. Your people are out there. The best is when you find a friend who also knows what this is like, where you lean and check on each other.
8. Nutrition- I know in the past for me I would eat a lot of sugar. This year during our church fast I decided to give up desserts. Just one thing but I have noticed that this year it has made a big difference. I stick to quite simple meals.
9. Taking a trip- This year I am going on a trip to see one of my best friends in another state in February which is the hardest month of the year for me. I also know now that I want to save money through the year to be able to do this every year. I cannot wait for this trip; it is going to do so much for my soul.
10. Be proud of EACH positive thing you do to make it- If getting out of the bed was what you did today…Can I just say I am proud of you? I know in a world where there is always doing, doing, doing, I am proud of you for doing something that is extremely hard for people who go through depression and don’t want to face the day. I see you and I am so so proud of you!
We will get through these months I promise. Taking care of my loved ones when I myself am struggling with my own mental health has been a journey to say the least. Spring will come soon. You are doing amazing mama and are not alone in this fight. I am so proud of you…of us.