This is probably the worst time of year for depression. It's cold so you don't want to be outside. It's gray so there isn't much sun anyway. It's slushy so there isn't much fun in shoe shopping either. But it all seriousness, pretty much everyone experiences a depression or slump this time of year. Maybe it's the doom of Valentine's day or the countless vacation pictures crowding your Instagram (which only rubs in the fact that you have to accumulate your vacation days can not go to Cancun right now) but you feel as bleak as the mushy dirty left over snow on the streets. So here are a few things to help with the funk.
1. Get moving. Get on your gym shoes, get out of your (I know, very comfortable, warm, and snuggly) PJs, and get your butt to the gym, a class, or just a walk around. While watching Downton Abbey on Netflix is riveting (but Mary finally had a happy ending!!!!), it also does not help with your funk. Moving your body is a great way to connect your body with your mind helping you process any thing that may be happening in your life. Emotional tension and manifest physically so exercise will help relieve that. On this set a realistic goal for yourself! For example, I want to be able to see my ab muscles by bikini season (those babies are in their somewhere). Setting a goal gives you something to work towards during the months that seem so endless and meaningless. It gives you a focus on something other than "FUCK IT'S COLD".
2.VITAMINS. Cold and flu season is NOW. It will bring you down like nothing else. So keep your body healthy by eating and drinking lots of vitamins. I try to have at least one green juice a day because it's filled with more vitamins than I could probably ever eat. Nothing is more depressing than having to stay in bed and not being able to enjoy your life. On the same note of vitamins, take vitamin D and lots of it. Vitamin D is extremely important since you receive less sunlight during these months. A drop in D can cause serious depression.
3. Try a UV light. So you could go tanning which is not very good for you but helps with the lack of Vitamin D or you could just invest in a UV light and sit in front of it for like 10-15 minutes every morning. I know someone who put their UV light on their treadmill and wakes up, runs for 30 minutes, before going about her day. She says that she no longer suffers from S.A.D.
4. Set a goal of some kind. Winter can be really isolating so try setting a goal or getting a new hobby. Don't be embarrassed about what it is. It could be learning to knit or training for a marathon really anything to keep you from being alone all the time. Say you wanted to lean pottery making, well, signing up for a class would not only teach you something new and cool but connect you with another social scene. We are always happy when we are making new friends.
5. Avoid comfort food and feed your body what it needs. Mac & Cheese is awesome but it doesn't provide your body with a lot of nutrients. I know it's really hard but start thinking of food as fuel rather than comfort. Feeding it crap doesn't get you anywhere. The other side of this concept is that there is a cycle of shame that goes along with eating crappy food. You regret it and feel upset with yourself for doing it which lead you to being depressed about your body. It's way easier to just make healthy choices.
6. Party of one. On the days where you are stuck inside with not much to do, don't just sit around bored and unhappy. Have a party of one. Put on some music and dance a bit. Sing really loudly. Act like a goofball. Wear something ridiculous. Mostly, just embrace the fact that you are really weird and enjoy it. Just have some fun with yourself.
7. Mindset matters. Make all over your walls a collage of happy, positive quotes if you have to or do as I do and pick a quote each morning to make your mantra for the day. Just something that helps keep you in a positive mind set. It's really mind over matter when it comes to depression.