I was putting my bibs and boots on this morning and I just felt like crying; the ugly silent tears that just kind of slip out of your eye holes because all the feels are super extreme kind-of-crying. Instead I told my husband and he said "because it is winter and we are dressed up in a dozen layers to go stomp through snow and it isn’t all that fun". And bam! my feelings were validated and my ugly crying was adverted.
Winter does crazy things on everyone’s mental health
In any given year roughly 5% of the U.S. population deals with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and 4 out of 5 people who have seasonal depression are women. Hey-OH! Where my girls at? We are also now 12 months into this pandemic which has packed a whole lot of other issues, including anxiety and you guessed it, depression.
SAD is different from depression, major depression is a chemical imbalance and those who suffer from depression may have an even harder time managing their symptoms in the winter. This is where I stand. I take an anti-depressant all year and then during the winter months I tack on tanning (don't judge me tanning haters). Seasonal affective disorder is when the symptoms of depression are only affecting you during the winter. There are ways to fight seasonal depression so talk to your doctor, a family member, or friend. Regardless of if you feel you have SAD or you are depressed, or even if you just feel a bit wonky right now, taking time for your self-care is a great first step!
3 tips for easy self care
WATER. I know, super obvious and located right alongside sunshine, but it’s freaking true. Drink more water but not an intimidating amount of water. Unless it is hot as balls in the middle of August and I am all out of alcohol I don’t crave water, I just don’t like it. (Actually that is a lie, I do crave water with ice cream, anyone else?) So the idea that I have to drink half my weight in ounces of water sounds like A LOT and immediately I think it is impossible. Who has that much time to pee all day? Do you know how hard it is to pee when you are wearing a dozen layers and stomping through snow? (See what I did there? Bringing it back around)
Maybe I could just drink a cup before my morning coffee and a glass with lunch, and two more glasses before bed? A little less intimidating and the benefits will still be present; like lower blood pressure, increase energy level, prevents headaches (y’all, that is my biggest problem), moisturizes skin, and reduces acne. Just proved it to myself, and you, that I need more water in my life. Check.
MINI DANCE PARTY. Shake your booty while you put on your make-up or prepare breakfast, all you need is a quick dance sesh to make you smile. Dancing helps you let loose and improves your mental and emotional stress. It increases your heart rate and improves your coordination, plus it is just plain fun. Teachers give their students brain breaks to stretch or dance, so why shouldn’t we?
SAYING YES and NO. One simple yes when you would normally say no can lead you to becoming more interesting, give yourself a confidence boost. You might find yourself saying yes to a situation you didn’t think you could do and failing (just keeping it real), but you’ll see that failure is okay and asking for help isn’t so bad. It can also open communication and create a connection between you and your children; there are so many times I immediately say “no” to their ideas out of habit that I end up seeming uninterested in what makes them excited. Likewise, saying no can make you feel in control and less like you are running around serving everyone else. Sometimes saying no is more like saying yes to yourself and it can help you establish important boundaries and make you feel empowered.
As your children get older or your business becomes more established, it is a little easier to find time for yourself (in case you are in that season where everything seems impossible, there is relief coming I promise). And once you start making a few small changes to focus on self-care it becomes easier to see what works and where things need to change. I think the biggest challenge in my life is realizing that self-care is just as important as the care I give to my family and friends, it isn’t me being selfish. And by the way, even if someone wants to call my kitchen jam session where I shake it loud and proud while forcing my children to enjoy the beats of Run DMC or Vanilla Ice as selfish – I am totally okay with that!