As the seasons change and the days become shorter many of us suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). It can happen to many of those who don’t suffer Mental Health Issues the rest of the year. One of the most difficult symptoms of depression is a lack of motivation. It’s not that we don’t want to feel better, we just lack the physical motivation to move and the emotional motivation to care if we move. Everything seems so difficult. Everything except staying under a warm blanket, hand on the remote, doing nothing, thinking nothing, feeling nothing.
While we might not be able to completely lift your spirits, here are some self-love tips that will hopefully help you cope with SAD just a bit better.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others:
Emotions are heightened for a lot of people in these months. This can mean that we tend to see ourselves as weaker, or less-than something or someone else. If we’re getting affected by SAD, it can also mean that we’re not feeling so productive. Maybe our workload feels heavier than normal, or maybe we’re not getting things done as quickly as we once were.
The most important thing you can do to start loving yourself is to stop comparing yourself and your journey to someone else.
During these months, recognize that your journey might be leading you up a bit of a steep climb. You’ll slow down, sure, but you’re not stopping. And since your journey is different than everyone else, they may or may not be on a steep climb as well.
Comparison only lead to jealousy and envy, and you will never be happy with yourself or your path if you compare yourself to another. Instead, focus on your road ahead and what you need to do to make your climb a bit easier on yourself.
Change how you perceive yourself
SAD months tend to also bring the pressure of looking or feeling a certain way.
Let’s try to beat this.
To love yourself, you must change your perception of yourself. This can be as easy as saying positive things about yourself and keep saying them until you actually start believing every word.
The proof that this works is because this practice is how you started to dislike yourself or parts of yourself in the first place; you kept seeing yourself in a negative light and finding the flaws until you started believing every thought.
Turn that process around and start finding the positive.
This might look different for you as it does to the next person. The way you move your body is up to you and your body.
What does your body need? Sometimes we need to push our body outside our mind’s comfort zone in order to see results, progress etc.
Sometimes we need to listen to what our body and mind are telling us and slow down. Maybe it’s a walk to the park, a dance class, a yoga class.
Either way, physical activity is a great way to learn to love your body. Trying new exercises or taking on a physical challenge helps you get to know your body in a whole new way. You will discover new abilities, new strengths, and new power, just by moving your body.
When you see yourself, you will also start to see just what you are capable of. Exercise helps boost production of ‘feel-good’ chemicals in your brain by increasing endorphins and serotonin levels.
What does journaling mean to you? Still, when I mention to clients they should keep a journal, their mind goes to keeping a secret diary about their feelings, emotions, and what happened that day at school or work. Sure, this can work and by all means, go for it! But journaling can also mean so much more. It can also mean less!
Using a journal to jot down one or two things every day that you’re grateful for will create some peace in your life.
Be grateful that you are healthy. Be grateful that you have the resources or mental clarity to pursue something different. Be thankful for what you have, what you can do, and how far you can go. Gratitude may be one of the most overlooked tools that we all have access to every day. Cultivating gratitude doesn’t cost any money and it certainly doesn’t take much time, but the benefits are enormous.
Eat for your Happiness
When we don’t feel happy, what we look for is something to comfort us. Food is the best thing to comfort our soul. But a solid diet can help you tackle the winter blues making sure you get your Omega 3s, Vitamin D’s and B’s.
When you do succumb to those carb cravings, go for whole grains such as oatmeal or a complex carbohydrate like brown rice. These dense carbohydrates have been found to increase serotonin levels. When you’re craving something sweet, reach for the humble banana.
It has a lot of weapons in its arsenal when it comes to battling SAD. Bananas are loaded with tryptophan and B6. In addition, stress will deplete your body’s potassium reserves, and the potassium found in a banana can provide a boost that can actually lower stress. Known as “the sunshine vitamin,” milk is loaded with SAD-busting vitamin D. Yogurt is also high in protein and calcium, which can ease anxiety and mood swings.
Before you can move forward in life, whether it is in a relationship, a job, or a new endeavour, success will only come after you learn to love and appreciate yourself. Remember it’s ok to not be ok, as coaches we are here to listen, motivate and enhance your life in any way we can. During these months specifically, we know all too well the challenges one can face with the lack of sunlight. Take these tips and practice them every day.
If you need a boost in the right direction with meal plans and workouts created for you, download our 5 healthy days. Get your next 5 days planned out right now.