Updated: Sep 25, 2019
March 25, 2018
Lately, I haven't been feeling like myself.
Since about October, when the air became colder and my first winter season away from my alma mater loomed before me, I've been a bit off. I had just started a full time job (ew) in a very soul-sucking industry, discovered I was not anywhere closer to landing an actual writing job, was going on six months being away from my long-distance boyfriend, and generally felt stuck and lost. I found myself becoming a weird kind of depressed I'd never quite felt before.
Each morning when I woke up to go to work, the day immediately started with a stomachache. I found it heard to eat breakfast and drink my coffee, which is normally my favorite part of my morning time, and I would drive to work practically in tears already--I felt like I was driving myself to prison every day, only to spend 8 hours doing nothing but watching the clock and feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and uninspired.
It hasn't just been work that's made me so emotional. As fall approached this year and I wasn't partaking in my annual packing for another semester at UMF, and I wasn't gearing up for new classes and seeing my friends and being independent and going back to my favorite place on earth... slowly but surely I realized that I felt completely stuck in a dead-end nine-to-five with no promise of moving up or out, while all my friends and boyfriend still at UMF were going back to another year doing precisely the things I loved and relied on for the last four years of my own life. I'd never felt so left behind, even though I was actually ahead.
And still, day after day, I felt unmotivated to get happy again and to start moving out of the inevitable rut I'd burrowed for myself. I felt uninspired to write anything and keep up with this blog or my journal. Each weekend, instead of planning ahead and being excited for the week while sitting back and enjoying my days off, all I did was lay on my bed, watch Netflix, and feel like there was no way out. Looking out the window every day, all I saw was falling snow--a sight that would normally fill me with whimsy and prompt a fresh cup of coffee and opening a good book by the fireplace. The cold weather, constant snow storms, and the pairing of my uneventful life and longing for Maine and being with James has finally culminated.
This winter I have undoubtedly been depressed, and I haven't felt affected by the winter season in a few years, so I was surprised when I put two and two together and found that I fit the description of one dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder. The lack of sun and nature's deadness in tandem with my own emotional and physical plateau has made me rethink how I perceive happiness--and realize that I have been more unhappy in the last six months than I've been in the last four years.With the support of those around me (hi, mom) and with my own willingness to roll over out of this rut, I've started a few healthy habits that will boost my mood and keep me plugging away at life, even on the days when I'd rather stay in bed and relish the darkness.
1. 🌞 Getting more sun
Recently, I've found that sitting outside for at least ten minutes a day and letting the sun hit my face while I drink my coffee (on the days where there is sun) has really done wonders for my internal happiness. I turn off my phone or leave it indoors, and just sit. Sometimes I close my eyes, but I just listen to the birds chirping and picture what my surroundings will look like in a month's time, when everything is green and flowering, and the air is warm. Mostly I just take in the brightness and try to stay present. I've discovered how much I need the D... vitamin D.
2. ✍ Back to my roots
I am most happy when I'm writing, and that is without a doubt. Lately, I've begun journaling again, but instead of forcing myself to write so many times a week or for a certain amount of time a day, I've learned that it's just as productive to pick up my journal when I feel like it. Some days it feels good just to write everything down, and it helps to keep me in the right state of mind. When it's all out on paper, it's no longer on my shoulders, and I swear, I walk away about 10 pounds lighter. I have even started brainstorming putting a collection of poetry together, and it's so great to feel that kind of excitement again.
3. 😊 Doing more of what makes me happy
In the last couple of weeks since discovering that I've got the winter blues, I've never been more aware of my happiness and lack thereof. For a while, I knew what would help me feel better, I remembered what it was like to do things I enjoy, and I genuinely wanted to feel better again. But, I couldn't find the motivation, and it was easier to just sit in my bedroom and think about doing those things. I've started allowing myself to be happy again simply by doing more of what I love. Sometimes that looks like watching a few Big Bang Theory episodes and eating dairy-free Ben & Jerry's, spending the day shopping with my sister or hanging out at her house with her and her fiance and cooking dinner together, or going to the gym on my day off from work, then coming home and enjoying a long shower and painting my nails. My mom has always said, since I was a child, "it's the little things in life." The older I get, the more that makes sense, and the longer I wait to start turning those little sweet things into large parts of my life, the less special they become.
While I'm far from being 100 percent recovered from this seasonal and emotional rut, I am making progress by taking small steps each day that I'm confident will add up to major change come summer. This spring, I am committed to being happy, and even though I'm not exactly where I want to be right now, I am only as close as I allow myself to be.
Can you relate to this post? Comment below one way you are combating the winter blues, and give this a like if you'd like more content like this!