I am absolutely astounded by the fact that we are already almost through with November. This semester has flown by and in the next couple of weeks, I will be preparing for the next one. Not only are we getting in preparation for a new month, but we are also preparing for a new season: winter. For some, winter is a warm time of celebration, it’s a time to be with the people you admire most. For others, their emotions reflect the wintery weather and they start to feel lonely in a cold and dark time. As part of my preparation for the holidays, I thought it would be best to acknowledge and bring awareness to this seasonal depression and share my thoughts with all of you.
Seasonal depression: a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer.
What causes seasonal depression?
There are so many things that can be the cause of this epidemic. Here are a few that I have noticed for myself.
- Winter weather
- The stress of school
- Lack of motivation
- Old memories
How do we fight seasonal depression?
Remind yourself that you are not alone
First off, anxiety and depression twist your thoughts into thinking you are alone. This couldn’t be more false. You do not need to go into this battle with anxiety and depression alone. Remind yourself every day that you are not alone, God is always there. He is your provider of strength, peace, and help. He will give you grace and help in your time of need. Others are struggling just like you. Reach out to them and go into battle together. Reach out to him and own this season as a season of love.
Fight the “no-motivation monster”
Whenever the holidays are near I get into this weird funk. I just can’t seem to find the motivation to do ANYTHING. Weeks before, I start to realize that a holiday break is near and my flame just seems to flicker out. I like to call this the “no-motivation monster”. This monster just follows me around at the end of each semester and interferes with my studies, relationships, mental health, and more.
This semester this monster has created a bigger and bigger wedge between me and my responsibilities but I am determined to fight it off. Here are a few ways you can fight off this “no-motivation monster”
- Wake up early! Waking up early and actually getting out of bed has helped me feel so much more productive these past few weeks. Now, some days are easier than others, but doing this has definitely helped me prepare for each day. Get up, grab a cup of coffee and mentally prepare yourself for what’s to come.
- Remind yourself why. For me, I have no motivation for school. I just can’t seem to focus on my assignments this time of year. Reminding myself why I am at school and why I am studying Public Relations helps me find motivation to finish out the semester. This technique helps me stay focused and on track to my goals for my life.
- Find someone who can keep you accountable. Find a friend or family member who will keep you busy and focused. Maybe you’re both struggling with seasonal depression, keep each other accountable.
Surround yourself with loved ones
The holidays are a time for family, but the family doesn’t have to mean by blood. To me, family are those who love you and genuinely care about you. They are the people who create a safe place for you. So if you are not close to your family, find a new one. This could be your church family, your work family, your school family, etc. Any group of friends that create a sense of homeyness in your life.
Most importantly, reach out to those who don’t have a family. Maybe this is their first holiday without a loved one, maybe they are far from home and can’t travel this year, maybe they don’t have a community to call their family. Reach out to those who are alone this holiday season and invite them to join your family.
Remember the memories, don’t dwell on them
This season can bring back a lot of memories. Maybe they’re warm memories of your favorite holiday traditions and of how things used to be. Maybe the old memories bring up a sensitive subject. Don’t let these old memories ruin your new ones. Cherish the old memories for what they were, but realize that they are something to celebrate not dwell on. If they’re good memories, let them be a reminder of how much you love them, don’t compare them to what you have now. If they’re bad memories, let them remind you of how much you’ve grown throughout the years. Remember the true reason for this holiday season and recognize the fact that everything happens for a reason. Christmas is a time to be hopeful for what’s to come, be patient and be thankful, and most importantly, remember the reason for the season.
Generosity is something I have always struggled with, mostly because I’ve never been financially stable enough to donate. Within the past few weeks, I have been focusing on becoming a more generous person. I have learned that generosity doesn’t have to be related to money, you can be generous with your time and your actions. With that being said, it is my top priority to find ways to be generous to the community around me.
A few things I have been doing:
- Buying the food/ drink of the person behind me in a drive-thru.
- Being a helpful hand or a listening ear to those who need it
This is a season of giving, and I have to say that giving is so much more fulfilling than receiving. I am not trying to become a more generous person to feel better about myself and this dark season, but providing a little bit of light in someone’s life has definitely helped illuminate my life. Seeing the joy in others has helped me feel joy myself.
I wish all of you a happy and safe holiday season. I hope that my thoughts can give some peace and advice to those who are struggling in this season. Remember that you are not fighting this battle alone. Share this post with your loved ones and be someone who is willing to fight by their side.