After the holidays subside, it’s easy for seasonal depression to slip in. While it’s true for so many, I find it especially true for those who have experienced loss. The excitement of the holidays and the new year has come and gone, leaving no major holidays until the spring. That means the Christmas trees are coming down, the colorful lights are all going away and the holiday music is fading along with its holiday cheer. The trees are more noticeably bare and it’s freezing outside (at least here in New Jersey.) To top it all off, we’re still facing a global pandemic that threatens isolation, all the while, being pregnant after loss and combatting all of the different hormones pregnancy brings. What a fight!
Here are 3 tips that I am using that may also help you with staying above seasonal depression.
1. Keep your holiday decorations up for as long as you’d like or take them down right away.
There are no holiday police that ever said everything must come down immediately after the New Year or that you even have to keep the decorations up through the New Year.
There are two types of people: those that have been itching to tear the decorations down because maybe the holidays are triggering to them and then there’s those who find solace in keeping the holiday cheer alive in their home for as long as possible. Whichever person you are, remember that it’s your choice.
Personally, I have no intentions of taking my Christmas tree down anytime soon. Winter can be so dreary on the outside of our homes. Therefore, it’s up to us to make sure we cultivate the environment that best serves us on the inside of our homes. The inside of your home should be accustomed to your mental and emotional needs so that when you walk in, you feel a sense of relief and peace that the rest of the world may not be able to offer. Your surroundings play a huge role in your mental health.
2. Make plans for your future.
Get out your calendar and your journal and start putting together some plans for the seasons to come. This will drive your focus from where you currently are to what you can look forward to in order to stay motivated. It can be something as simple as planning out what kind of flowers you’d like to plant and landscaping ideas you may want to implement for the spring or something as extravagant as planning out a vacation for the summer. Plan your growing baby’s first birthday even while they’re still growing in your belly. Plan your new mommy schedule as either a working mom or a stay-at-home mom (which is also a working mom). Plans can be more reviving than most know. Realizing not everything planned always goes accordingly, what I do know is if you try it, you’re sure to find yourself smiling, thinking about the exciting things to come. That’s the point of it, lifting your spirit in a moment when you may find yourself a little low. I love planning ahead because it really does change my mood and encourages me to see past the “right now.”
3. Control what you can.
A lot of things in life are beyond our control like the seasons and loss. However, do things that you have the power to do. Little things like dying your hair, cooking a dish you’ve always wanted to try, starting a podcast, going to a therapy session, or cleaning out your junk drawer are all things you have control over.
Seasonal depression can make you feel powerless. It can make you feel like you’re stuck in a hole of grief with no way out until you’re out. It’s like a wave of darkness that is just to be dealt with until the flowers finally bloom again. I know that feeling well. Instead of embracing that feeling, I’m choosing to be proactive. Controlling what you can means waking up each day with a purpose to accomplish something; anything. Little daily accomplishments are great for boosting your mental health as they remind you of yourself and help you reset your value.