Disclaimer: I'm not a licensed professional, but this is my perspective on this topic and diagnosis.
"I'm going through it bitch, losing my MF medulla." - Cardi B.
Let's do a quick rundown of the past 3 months.
August. I turned 28 and I was on a happy high.
September. My mood started to decline shortly after I came back from Jamaica.
October. I'm still in a mood, but I'm bartending more and I'm lowkey exhausting.
November. The time changed and I went from being in a mood to depression settling in.
For weeks I couldn't pinpoint why was in a mood because nothing was wrong, but once the time changed I instantly knew the reason...
Seasonal affective disorder aka SAD is a type of depression that's triggered by the change of seasons. Although it can occur during any seasonal change it's more prominent during the late fall and winter time. SAD can last for a few weeks or the entire duration of the fall and winter season. It can also be triggered by the annually time change that occurs in November and ends in March. During this time daylight hours decrease and days are shorter. Several studies have shown that people with pre-exisiting mental health issues are more impacted by this change in comparison to others.
Here's some signs of SAD (seasonal affective disorder)
Feeling sad or moody
Crying more than usually
Trouble sleeping, insomnia, or excessive sleeping
Change in eating whether it overeating and gaining weight or no desire to eat at all
Fatigue or low energy
Lack of interest in pleasurable activities especially social ones
SAD impacts everybody differently and as an adult I've experienced SAD since my early 20's. Thankfully I'm coming out of a depressive cycle, and I'm hopefully that the pink print (shameless plug) I'm implementing will keep me from falling into another depressive cycle.
My Pink Print Plan
Therapy bi-weekly. My previous therapist resigned from individual therapy and my last session was in August. I procrastinated for 3 months but I recently found a new therapist. My first session was 2 weeks ago which is also when I felt some desire to do something with myself beside eat and stay in the bed. My new therapist also has more availability than my previous one so I'm planning to see her bi-weekly until I feel stable enough to go back to attending a session every 3 to 4 weeks.
Find a permanent church home. I was raised in the church & I've strayed away as an adult. I'm not religious, but I need to get back spiritually aligned.
Go to a cafe or happy hour every week. I work from home and if I'm off from bartending it's easy to stay in the house for days and sulk. Going to a cafe and happy hour brings me joy and allows me to take my mind off whatever is suppressing my mood.
Working out 3x a week & going to yoga. Everybody knows that summer bodies are built during the winter and yoga is a great way for me to relax and decompress. Also, being physical active 3x a week is highly recommended by doctors.
Resets. I use to do a Sunday reset faithfully but I fell off for some reason. Actively doing a weekly reset which will help me prepare and plan for the upcoming week, and reduces the likelihood of inconveniences that could cause a downward spiral.
Reading urban books. The urban world is my guilty pleasure and the Christmas stories are my absolute fav. Engaging in something that I love is a great way to combat negative feelings.
Here's some ideas to curate your own pink print plan if you're experiencing SAD
Go to therapy or utilize journaling. It's essential to release the negative thoughts and feelings. Therapyforblackgirls.com has a list of licensed black professionals across the country. There's also digital and physical journals and apps that can help you release your inner thoughts. Goodnotes is great for journaling & importing digital files. I also recommend Prompt Journal & Diary which are digital journaling apps.
Get out of the house. It's common to laid in the bed and sulk but sitting around doing nothing deepens the depressive cycle. I know it's hard but go out and engage in something that makes you smile.
Clean up. It's a lot easier to move forward and think clearly if your living in a clean space. Pick a day to clean up every week or hire a cleaner if you can afford one.
Affirmations. Feed your mind positive thoughts. Download an affirmation app or listen to affirmations daily. I recommend I Am Daily Affirmations app, Alanna Fox on YouTube has a positive affirmation playlist, or get on Pinterest & create an affirmation board.
Tap into your spirituality. Go to church, pray, etc. Get in alignment with a higher power and trust that whomever you belive in will get you through this season.
Increase vitamin D. Daylight savings decreases sunlight which impacts vitamin D. Lack of vitamin D impacts your mood and overall body. Take some over the counter vitamins to counteract a potential vitamin D deficiency.
Schedule a maintenance day. When you look good, you tend to feel better. Also hair depression is real. Book a hair appt., get a mani & pedi, etc. if you can afford it. You'll also be more inclined to leave the house if you look good.
Resist the urge to make impulsive decisions. Depression can make you feel discontent, hopeless, irrational, etc. Don't make decisions that you may regret once your in a better mood.
Medication. It's okay if you need medication. I take an anxiety pill 2x a day and it's keeps me on the right path for the most part lol. I highly recommend Ashawanghanda which is an over the counter gummy that's great for energy and combating SAD symptoms.
Exercise. Being physically active has been known to improve your quality of life and mental state. Simply walking 3x a week for 30 minutes will improve your mood and mental.
Limit substance intake. I don't endorse substance use, but everybody's grown and most people consume alcohol or their drug of choice. Substances can either reduce or heighten your mental state hence why some people become crybabies or the life of the party. Either way it's not a good idea to become co-dependent on a substance when your mental is more sensitive. Attending a social hour is cool, but don't start drinking a bottle of wine after work every day. Take a smoke break, but don't start waking and baking for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Only you know your limits and if your not a disciplined person do yourself a favorite and don't engage in any substances until the depressive cycle has ceased.
Engage in positive content. Cut off the b.s and engage in something that's good for your mental. Negative content and getting wrapped up in social media is already problematic and your mental doesn't need to see anything else that'll have you in your feelings or make you believe that your not enough.
Take a break. Other factors outside of the season may influence or cause a depressive cycle. Separate yourself from people and things that impact you negatively.
How to support somebody with SAD
Give them grace & love. Depression can make somebody feel like they're a burden to others which is why some people chose to suffer in silence. If they don't want to talk, respect that and remind them that you're there for them whenever they need you and they are loved no matter what.
Show up for them by utilizing their love language. If quality time is important to them, plan a day to spend time with them without unnecessary distractions. If acts of service is important, figure out a way to service them or pay somebody to do it. Most people especially when they're depressed need support, but they don't know how to ask for it. Also a lot of people will say that they're there for that person, but outside of a text their presents & actions say otherwise. Sometimes you have to go the extra mile to show up for people. I'm forever grateful for when anxiety was at it's peak that two of my BFFs would spend the weekend with me. We didn't make plans to anything & a lot of times we'd be in the bed watching TV or barely talking while I read books but their presence helped me to not feel alone.
I've been here before and I know the depressive cycles don't last forever.
I recently went to Dallas & linked up with one of my homegirls which uplifted my spirits. I'm also going home for 2 weeks and being spoiled by my parents and seeing my nephew and godkids always brings me joy.
Lastly, I have a great support system although I prefer to suffer in silence.
Seasonal depression is real and I'm sending you extra love and light if it's impacting you or somebody that you know. Despite how you may feel during this season just know that things get better and God loves you.
Cheers to beating seasonal depression.
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More positive news & the grand announcement…. The Pink Print Shop is open and ready for business. This part of the rebrand was supposed to occur at the top of the year but fear and procrastination held me back. I put a lot of time and effort into this line of business and new digital products will continue to be added over the next few weeks. I pray my digital products help you dream big and become the best version of yourself.
Pink Print Planners
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Thank you so much for rocking with me and I love y’all for real.