Hi. It’s me. I’m here to talk to y’all about seasonal depression. It is a very real thing in my world. Dealing with heaviness and mental issues has been a ongoing journey for awhile now. One that somedays is a piece of cake and other days is so overwhelming only Jesus knows. It’s a fight. It’s a battle. But it’s one I’m okay figuring out. I’m in the best hands and that gives me courage on my worst days. So I wanted to take some time to share things that I have been doing/ practicing to help me get my booty out of bed (even if I have to drag myself out of it). Your bed doesn’t have to control you. I promise.
△ Rearrange the space you spend the most time in. Change is good. Especially if you associate your room as your safe space. I spend so much time in my room and this week I completely changed it and I immediately felt how good it was to have it different. Any time I experience pain, I run to my room. So having a totally different vibe immediately lifted the spirits within the 4 walls.
△ Do something kind for yourself that you wouldn’t normally do. For me it’s getting my nails done (sometimes even in my sweat pants and a hoodie). Doing something out of my normal routine has been so good for me to say “hey there is more than what I am used to.” Also bright yellow nails are ALWAYS a good idea.
△ Buy a plant. Life is GOOD. Surround yourself with as much life as possible. Getting dressed to pick out a new little green friend was so good for me. I obviously wanted to get a dog but it wasn't in the budget.
△ Go visit one of your favorite coffee shops. Even if you have nothing to do for work on your laptop and you don't feel like reading a book because of sadness, SERIOUSLY just go to watch Netflix. It's amazing what a change in your environment can do for you.
△ Go to bed earlier so you can wake up earlier. I love to go to bed at 2 AM so I can wake up at 12 PM. I'll sleep when I'm dead used to be my hipster mantra. But I've been going to bed at grandma hours and it has been so good for my little brain. I feel like a normal person and sadness can't creep into me being tired all day anymore.
I also wanted to incorporate some of the questions other's asked me over Instagram.
△ How do you force yourself to self-motivate on your days off from work?
Sometimes no matter how hard I fight and push, I can not find the motivation for the life of me. So I spend days drowning until I just can't take it anymore. What really has helped me is having accountability. I have a really amazing group of friends who know when to check in on me and how to push me and how to encourage me to take care of myself. The motivation I find is always from someone telling me it's going to be okay. Knowing I'm going to be okay and to hear it from someone who loves me always, always pulls me out. Spending time with Jesus too and holding close to his promises is so comforting as well. Sometimes there are days where nothing any one can say or where there is nothing anyone can do to help. But reading truth and stepping out in faith even when I would rather not always pulls me out.
△ I don't know if you have experience with anxiety but would love to hear more about that if so. It's something I have been struggling with for quite some time and feel like it's something people in the church don't want to talk about.
I've spent a long time dealing with anxiety, and I still have my moments. I kind of had a coming to terms with myself moment where I had to ask myself: is my anxiety me or is my anxiety actually anxiety? About 9 out of 10 times it was me. I realized I was a control freak and was trying to control and hide behind so much brokenness in my life. I would do anything to control every detail of just about anything. So I stopped hiding behind it. I started to hold things lightly and not try to control people or circumstances. It has been so freeing. I got off my anxiety meds because they were making me so numb. I pushed and I fought for my self. I really pushed as hard as I could to not care about trying to control things so much. It hurt. It was extremely freaking hard. All of this to say, anxiety is a REAL thing. I have panic attacks still because sometimes life happens even when I am not trying to control things. I just had to look at myself and really dig to the bottom of it. Had to figure out where it stemmed from and go from there. I'd encourage you to do the same. Ask those hard questions. See if there is anything you could get let go of to make it better. In regards to people at church- you should ALWAYS feel safe talking to leaders at church. Always. But I know that since you probably struggle with anxiety you are probably anxious to even talk about anxiety (oh the joys of having simple conversations). So I get it. But so many people struggle with it and church should be the safest place to open up about it.
△ What do you do when you can logically understand why you are okay but still have the hardest time getting out of bed/ not snoozing through your alarm a thousand times?
LOL. I laugh at this because I can spend an hour giving myself a pep-talk and feel like a total bad ass ready to conquer the world and then 2 minutes later idk what the crap happens and I am immediately back into my dark hole of sadness. I'm okay and then I am not okay. I wake up fine and then all of the sudden I am not fine. I set my alarm because I am going to go on a walk at 7 AM but then I hit snooze and next thing you know it's 12 PM. The struggle. I guess what I have been doing is just being honest with myself. I'm truly at the point where I know I am going to be okay. Every fiber of my being knows it. But sometimes I am physically not okay. So I'm just honest with where I'm at. If I can't get out of bed, I can't get out of bed. I stopped putting pressure on myself and I started listening to what my body needed. That has made all the difference.
△ How do you be fully vulnerable with the Lord in a season that you really want to pretend you are not in?
I think I got lucky and found the freedom really early on in being vulnerable and sharing where I'm at even if I really didn't want to be there. I have been in so many icky season that I wish I was not in. But the freedom I found in sharing my honesty has helped so many others and it also creates the room for others to help me too. If people don't know, how will they ever see the beauty in the broken? It's there. We just have to have the courage to share so others can say me too.
I hope that this has helped y'all. I'm not an expert. I wish I was because I would be a super hero and would never be sad. I CAN NOT WAIT FOR THAT DAY!!! But for right now, that's just not my reality. Seasonal depression has been really high for me this winter. These little practices may be obvious and others who don't get it may not understand, but when you are in the midst of sadness, going to a coffee shop makes zero sense. Putting your pants on makes zero sense. For a long time that's where I was. In and out, up and down. Fighting for yourself is worth it. These little tips I gave you have honestly gave me so much hope and have given me a reason to tell my sadness no. Have something to look forward to. Have people fighting for you. Wear your sweat pants. Just promise me to fight for yourself. You are loved. You are never ever alone. Let’s kick these winter blues in the BUTT.
(P.S. Here is one of my favorite podcasts talking about mental health if you need something to get you through https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yc-TLo2u_s4)