Our mental health can be affected in a variety of ways because of different factors. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that’s due to a change in seasons. Your energy levels become low. You lose interest in activities you used to enjoy. You feel sluggish, agitated and hopeless. I experienced this living in New York. Though I mostly liked what New York had to offer, I did not enjoy the climate. I disliked the cold. I remember trying to go to classes when it was snowing and it put me in a bad mood. Also, my birthday is in February. Unfortunately, that is when the cold really hits in New York. That’s when there are more snowstorms and it would make me sad that I couldn’t fully enjoy my birthday. My first few years in New York, the winter period truly took a toll on my mental health.
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As for the holidays, it’s a time most people enjoy with their family, partners, and friends. The holidays are a time to get close and bond. However, for some people, the holidays might not be great. Some people might not be able to see their family and loved ones. It can thus feel lonely. When I was an international student in the states, I was not coming back to Nigeria to spend the holidays with my parents. I would spend it with my brothers there in New York. Because I missed my parents and sister, I would get a bit sad during the Christmas period. I would look at social media and see pictures of an elaborate Christmas that others appeared to be having and that was not my life. It used to get me down.
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In addition, the holidays come at a time when we are rounding up the year. If you didn’t have a great year, you might be gloomy and bitter about things. You might feel distraught that you didn’t get far with your goals. You might be disappointed with areas in your personal life and relationships.
In order for me to get through mood swings during winter and the holiday season, I had to get a hold over the sadness. Now, I’m no doctor. I simply speak from experience. Below, are ways that can help you get through seasonal and holiday depression.
Get Some Sun Or Multivitamins to Boost Your Mood
The sunlight is my very favorite thing. Sunlight is related to our health. Sunlight provides Vitamin D which is important for your bones, blood cells, and the immune system. Sunlight helps boost a chemical in your brain called serotonin. It gives you more energy and helps keep you calm, positive and focused. Now, when you live in a region where it gets cold, the days of the sun may be over. But you can still help yourself. Doctors recommend light therapy. Though the winter can look cloudy and gloomy, try to get out during the daylight. Have a good diet by being mindful of your nutrition. You can take multivitamins for good health and to boost energy levels.
Socialize & Call Friends + Family You Like to Relieve Irritable Mood
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It’s important to be in the company of good people who understand you. People who can make you smile, laugh and have an overall good time. Being around good company will make you less irritable. I was fortunate that those first few years that the winter got me down, I had good friends around me. During my birthday, my friends would plan things and we would still go out despite the cold. It is not easy going out during the cold but if people around you can encourage you, you will still have a good time. So make an effort to spend more time with the people you like. Also, call family members or friends that might be far away. I’d always keep in touch with my parents and sister when I was in New York.
Be Mindful About Thoughts That Bring You Down
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You have to be mindful about the thoughts you let enter into your mind. If the year didn’t go the way you want, don’t beat yourself up. You are good enough. Don’t start contemplating all the ways you think life sucks. Such thoughts will only make you go from feeling bad to worse.
I admitted to you over email in my first newsletter that I was a bit down that the year is coming to an end. I felt like my blog did not take off the way I wanted despite my efforts. I felt like I had not spent enough time having fun or adventures. I was disappointed with my year. But then I started to think about all that I had been able to do. I thought about getting my first blogger ambassadorship for Poppy Apparel.
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“I was once afraid of people saying “who does she think she is?” Now, I have the courage to stand and say, “This is who I am” – Oprah Winfrey…Whatever you feel drawn or called to do, you don’t need anyone’s approval nor validation. You just need to go ahead and be you. This matters because there is joy and meaning when you can stand in the truth of who you are. 💃🏽💃🏽⠀ ——————————————————————–⠀ Also, so ladies, I’m loving this wrap dress from @poppyapparelshop . They have a lot of nice dresses, athletic wear and inspiring and funny t-shirts that every feminist will loveee 💪🏾💪🏾😁You should check out their site and you can shop this look using my code Isi10 😘😘⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #bloggers #abuja #nigeria #nigerianbloggers #mondaymotivation #motivationmonday #nigerianwriters #femalebloggers #bloggergirl #nigerianblog #bloggersinabuja #nigerianpeople #naijapeople #abujastories #africanpeople #africanstories #fashion #style #dresses #cutedresses
I thought about how I was able to step out of my comfort zone and be vulnerable with you all through my blog collaboration on mental health. I thought about getting a job, writing for She Leads Africa and being part of new volunteer opportunities. This year was not so bad.
Recollect some of the things you have done and commend yourself. It may not have been everything you wished or hoped for. But the best is yet to come. Know that God has an appointed time for everyone. As long as you are alive and breathing, you can keep moving and striving for more and better. Just try to be more aware of what it is that you want more off. As for me, it’s a better work-life balance. I don’t want to become a workaholic who only goes after her goals and ambitions. I want to enjoy my life more and experience adventures with friends and a good man, preferably taller than me and with a nice, sexy beard…yes, baby loll. That is why I know I have to reduce activities that are always about pursuing my goals. I know I have to delegate so I’m not overwhelmed by work. I need to get out more. Consider what you need to do to have the things you lacked this year.
Be Appreciative of the Life You’re Given
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During the holidays, we can easily get down because we compare our lives to others. It could be comparing our lives to the people around us or on social media. Maybe someone has this job you wish you had. Someone is traveling to a location you wish you could afford. Someone is getting married and you’re tired of being single. There are a million and one things that we can think off. It’s better to be appreciative of the situation you find yourself in.
During the holidays, I would be bitter that I couldn’t have this elaborate Christmas but I had to appreciate the fact that I had my brothers around me. My brothers are caring and supportive. I had to appreciate that I had a roof over my head and food to eat. I had to appreciate that I’ve been fortunate to have the experience to study abroad. Sometimes, we take things for granted and we think our lives are terrible. But if we can change our perspective and see the good around us, life will feel different.
If you’re the type of person who gets down during the change of seasons and holidays, I get you. I hope that some of what I’ve written makes sense to you. I hope that your sadness and anger will dispel. I hope you will seek and create joy and laughter in this season. All is WELL.
How do you get through seasonal blues during winter and the holidays?
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