For many of us, the “most wonderful time of the year”… well, isn’t all that wonderful. I know personally I find myself, with each passing snowfall, a little bit deeper into the pit of seasonal depression. Seeing that I made it halfway through December without an existential crisis or other sort of mental breakdown, I figure I’m doing pretty good. But I can feel that incessant, nagging sensation. The one that tells you danger is looming just around the corner. The one that whispers “winter is coming” and makes you want to crawl in a hole until precious sunshine returns.
If today has been any indication, I’m in for a long winter, indeed. I was scheduled to see my new therapist this morning- an appointment I scheduled more than a month ago. It’s been at least twice that long since I saw my last one. I was looking forward to meeting this new therapist- to getting back on track. But of course once I’d warmed up and brushed the snow off my car, I found the windshield wipers weren’t working. Not even frozen to the windshield, but just… not even trying. So much for that…
While I’m not exactly heartbroken that I don’t have to brave the Michigan weather to talk about my problems (isn’t that what the internet is for?!) I do find my inner Jack Torrance beginning to rear its ugly face. The cabin fever I’ve developed spending the past week recovering from surgery is unbelievable, but I suppose it is preferable than going outside in this trash weather?
So how does one keep from completely losing it and murdering their entire family with an axe this winter?
LOTS OF BOOZE. Self-care of course! I’m a huge advocate every day of the year, but for those of us who suffer seasonal depression, it’s especially important to make sure we’re taking time out each day to take care of ourselves. And self care can be literally anything! Self care is, as described by Wikipedia, “any necessary human regulatory function which is under individual control, deliberate and self-initiated”.
One act of self care I learned in DBT that I try to practice as frequently as possible, is having realistic expectations for myself. For example, I’ve been dying to get back into working out. But I’m recovering from surgery and not allowed to lift more than 5 pounds for another week. As much as I want to exercise, I understand the limitations of my body and that by pushing these, I’ll make things worse. Having a bad brain day? Don’t overload yourself with the “I should be ____” routine. It’s an easy trap to fall into; try cutting yourself some slack!
But knowing your limitations is only half of the battle. I took to Twitter to ask you guys what things you found help cure your winter blues, and, as usual, I was not disappointed! Here were a few of my personal favorites. (I may have to steal a few of these for my own arsenal!)
So there you have it! A whole list of tried and true self care tips from the experts themselves. Try one of these suggestions the next time you start feeling a bit down. Then let us know- did it help? Have any of your own self care tips you’d like to share? Comment below! Now if you’ll excuse me, I know there’s a cookies recipe on Pinterest just calling my name… <3