Winter can be such a fun season! For girls like me who absolutely love chunky sweater and boot weather, it is a dream. Grab a hot caramel macchiato, some friends for some shopping and I am all set! But if I am honest, winter is not always parties and ice skating. At least for me, it isn’t. Yes, I love a brisk walk in the park and layering my favorite scarf with an outfit…but some days are really hard. Why? Because when the weather starts to change and I am stuck inside day after day, I start to feel isolated and really down.
Insert seasonal affect disorder (SAD). Winter seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression. But unlike conventional depression, it is always cyclical and coincides with the changes that happen with the seasons. The main trigger for seasonal affective disorder seems to be shorter days during the fall and winter months.
Just as surely as it arrives the temperatures start to drop, the symptoms start to fade as the days lengthen and springtime begins to bloom.
I am sure you remember in December when we had our first snowfall. Talk about Snowmaggedon?! What a snowfall it was! It was absolutely beautiful. But for some, it made it difficult to get out of their house. Cold temperatures and lots of dreary days impact all of us. For some, the beginning of colder seasons gets you excited about what’s to come. Others dread the shorter days, long nights, colder temperatures and feelings of loneliness and isolation. The gradual decline of mood may be difficult to associate with SAD but if you start to feel “not like yourself” too often, it is time to take action.
Talk to someone about what you are experiencing.
Talk with your doctor. Struggling with feelings of depression during winter months (or anytime) is not something to be ashamed of. It happens – and for a variety of reasons too.
Contact a medical professional to have an assessment completed and to determine what, if any, treatment modalities may be suggested for you. Treatment for SAD encompasses many different things so it is very likely that you will find something that will help you to start feeling better.
Practicing Self-care is one of the most overlooked fundamentals of well-being, including mental and emotional health. As wives and mothers, it is so easy for us to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of each day. We are getting kids ready for school, keeping up with practices and doing a host of other things.
It’s not too difficult to lose sight of what we need for the sake of taking care of our families. And that is exactly what so many of us do. When we don’t make ourselves a priority, we make ourselves susceptible to not feeling our best. This opens the door to us losing focus or interest in what we like to do, feeling fatigued etc….
We have to do better with taking care of ourselves first. It’s not selfish. It may feel like it but the truth is we NEED to do it in order to be the best wife and mom we can be.
Be intentional about getting out of the house.
Let your friends know what’s happening. It may be hard but do it. You may just find out that another friend is struggling with the same thing. You can be a great support for one another.
Your friends may prove to be instrumental in helping you get through this time while you are feeling down. While we know that the cold weather and lack of sunshine don’t last THAT long (even though it seems like it), they too probably want to get out of the winter slow down that we all experience and have some fun. Grab coffee with a friend after the morning carpool run. Join that Bible study or book club that you’ve been thinking of. Check out that spin or pilates class that your friend has been inviting you to!
Taking the first step to getting out of the house may be difficult because you won’t feel like going. But take it from someone who has been there, it makes all the difference in the world. You will start to look at things differently. You will start to feel better too.
Making yourself a priority will go a long way in helping you to get through difficult days of seasonal affective disorder. It requires identifying your needs and taking the necessary steps to meet them. Be sure to treat yourself as compassionately as you treat others. You deserve it!