So here we are again – shorter days, wind and rain galore, long evenings wrapped in a blanket. I absolutely LOVE fall, it’s my favorite season by far. However, as someone who has long suffered with anxiety and depression, I totally get the fall and winter blues.
I guess it’s just biochemistry – our brain get’s less sunlight, less Vit. D is produced in our system and TADA! We feel like shit some days. If you’re someone who suffers from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), depression, anxiety, borderline, or you’re bipolar , you’re probably more prone to feel under the weather as fall rolls around.
Even if you’re in prime mental health (lucky!) you might get those blue days when getting out of bed is a chore. This post is dedicated to all you ladies who get those days/weeks or even months, where forcing a smile is a sad reality.
Through the years of dealing with this myself, I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve that have helped me deal with those feelings. The fall and winter blues are also closely tied to the amount of pressure this season brings.
Family events, Holidays, presents, being a certain way in front of your family. Or maybe even having to speak to some of them. So much shit to do. So much shit to think about. Memories, missing those who’re no longer with us. A lot of emotional baggage comes with the fall and winter blues. I so get it. It’s hard! They should call it the high expectations season.
Let’s see if I can help you help yourself to a dash of positive vibes this season. Now, I’m not sayin’ you’ll be laughin’ & shakin’ your belly like a jar full of jelly (LOL) BUT – it’s worth a try yeah? Every little helps 😉 Let’s kick some fall and winter blues ass ladies!
Dealing With The Fall And Winter Blues
Now, I perceive the fall and winter blues as 2 different entities. Fall blues are more about the change from summer heat, sunshine and light energy, to a more damp, dark and foggy aura of the fall. It’s a transition that takes toll on all our senses, and our bodies react accordingly. All the serotonin in the world won’t make it easier, at least from my experience.
The winter blues however, are a different story. The Holiday Season starts in November, pretty much. With Thanksgiving, and then Christmas & Hanukkah, it’s all about the joy. Presents, family meetings, festivities, Santa Claus on every damn’ corner.
All the Christmas decorations and the sugar sweet pictures of happy families. It can get depressing when your life isn’t half as “perfect”. It’s a time of reflection, and often comparing yourself and your life to that of others – ads included.
So now that we’ve established the ins and outs of fall and winter blues, let’s take a look at what could make this time easier and possibly even happier for y’all!
5 Ways To Deal With The Fall Blues
It might seem like such a small thing, but wearing comfy, cozy clothes this time of year really turns your well being factor up a notch. You’ve got enough on your plate, add fall and winter blues to that – feeling uncomfortable in your clothes is the last thing you want.
Cozy knits, sweat pants, joggers, hoodies, warm oversized scarves, fuzzy socks, furry slippers – it’s like your clothes giving you a hug. Seriously – give it a try!
I get pissed off if I have to brave it in skinny jeans and tight tops come fall. Just gimmie yoga pants and an XXL chunky knit sweater.
Oh, and UGGs. Yep, I’m a basic bitch and proud. It does take the pressure off looking perfect, and makes me feel comfortable, which helps.
Eat Your Heart Out.
So what you eat really does matter, and it also affects your moods. I’ve noticed that when I eat a lot of healthy grains, fatty fish like salmon, olive oil and olives, nut butters – you get the jist?
I noticed that when I generally stick to whole, unprocessed foods, I start feeling better. Lighter on my feet, my energy levels rise and my moods improve.
When I slip up and go back to chocolate, sugary store bought granola , big portions and late meals, I start feeling more like shit again. I know fall calls for some comfort food, but ironically, I find emotional comfort in really focusing on a healthy, whole diet.
I feel a positive change in my body, which makes me feel good. Try it!
Fall In Love With Bubble Baths.
When I had some really dark days, I would escape to my bathroom and pour myself a fragrant, warm bubble bath. Candles n’ all.
Scented salts (something spicy, fallish like pumpkin, cinnamon, clove or gingerbread), body scrubs, SPA music, my favorite TV show.
Yep – I’d watch it in the bath, on my laptop. It really served as a relaxing time out. It would also calm me down before bed, as I had some trouble sleeping too (which often comes with the blues).
Of course, it won’t get you knocked out like Ambien will, but it’s a natural and DIY way to unwind and focus on YOU.
I know that alienation is a thing when the blues hit, for a lot of us. We just wanna be left the hell alone. Sometimes any
kind of human interaction is just exhausting.
But let me tell you – it’s healing with the right person/people. I’ve often found that powering through the urge to isolate myself, and opening up to close ones really helped me feel better.
It also lifted my moods and made me feel less alone. Not everyone will “get” what you’re going through and that’s fine. The right person can give you the support and attention that could make this time easier, and more fun too. Try to spend time with people you feel totally comfortable around.
Wear joggers together, light candles, watch movies, indulge in tasty meals. Hell I take my husband with me and have that bubble bath together with a glass of wine. It doesn’t make me depression free all of a sudden, but it sure does make me feel cared for, noticed, loved and happier.
Go Easy On Yourself.
Need a nap? Take it. Want to lounge all Sunday watching movies? Do it. Don’t feel like cooking? Order takeout. Seriously, so many of us think that we HAVE TO do this, HAVE TO do that.
OK so when you have a mortgage, a house with kids, pets and family members who scream EXPECTATIONS into your ear day in day out, it’s hard. However, there’s always a way to eliminate some of the HAVE TO’S. It’s called balance hun!
You don’t have to be a perfect housewife, 100% of the time. Yes, you can serve takeout sometimes. You can refuse to wear clothes in favor of lounge wear on the weekends.
You may not feel like doing stuff all day long. It’s ok. The last thing you need is someone telling you to “get it together”. Those people should be put away. If we could get it together, we would.
Jeez. Chill the fuck out, keep your kids + husband alive and well, sometimes that’s the most you can do. Keep the frills and benefits for later, when you actually feel up to it.
Delegate work, ask your partner to take some of the load off. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support. That’s the speedy route to feeling better. Make space for YOU.
5 Ways To Deal With The Winter Holiday Blues
Embrace Your Right To Choose.
You can choose whether you’re going to make your house into a Christmas festival and start fussing about presents in October. You can also choose whether you want to spend Christmas with 50 family members, or just you and your closest ones.
The first Holiday I spend with my then fiance, just the two of us, was probably the best Christmas I’ve ever experienced. We ate awesome food in our pj’s, cuddled up on the sofa, watching silly shit.
No pressure, no family feuds, no expectations, no need to slap on a smile just coz’ tis’ the season to be fucking jolly. None of that BS. Just us, sharing the love, enjoying the season, drinking mulled wine. Yes, people will get offended. They will emotionally blackmail you into attending 100 family meetings, work outings, Christmas shopping sprees.
They will probably nag and ask why and label you as weird or insensitive and selfish. But you know what? Fuck them.
You have the right to choose how you spend your time. It’s your life – and as far as I’m concerned, none of us have signed a contract at birth, promising to spend Christmas or any other holiday for that matter, in a certain way. In the end, when you spend the Holidays exactly how you’ve always wanted to, the blues seem to lift off. It’s a Christmas Miracle!
Fuck The Pressure.
The right gifts, inviting the right guests, seating them the right way. Cooking the appropriate foods using the right recipes that have been in your family for generations. Wearing that dress that your mother loves and you hate, just to make her happy. Eating one slice of cake instead of two coz’ aunt Cheryl will comment on your weight gain. Fuck that.
The pressure that we put ourselves under for the sake of satisfied smiles on the faces of our family members. The frustration, the anger, the resentment – all that really fuels the blues. Just thinking about it will make a sista frown. How about being more in tune with yourself?
Eat the cake, wear sweat pants, cook what you God damn please. Can you feel the pressure lift off, taking the blues with it? Hell Yeah!
OK so when I know I will be involved in some sort of festivities, I tend to procrastinate. I always think about all the work and the shopping and stuff I’d love to do in fact, but I just can’t get to it. Even if it’s things I’m doing out of my own will, not coz I’m expected to. And it gets me down.
Hell, it makes me feel guilty that everyone is already sorted out and I’m still far behind the pack. Nowadays, I plan ahead. I think about what we’d wanna eat, what we might want under the tree (dog included!), and I roughly estimate how much cash that’s gonna eat up. I feel safe that there’s some sort of plan in place, making it easier to see what’s on my plate.
Procrastinating can really amp up anxiety and make you feel overwhelmed and blue, so powering through and trying to think ahead can really clear your mind and make you feel lighter. Give it a try!
Make Peace With How Things Are.
Not talking to your parents? Constantly fighting with your sister? Hate going over to your aunt’s yearly Christmas Dinner? Guess what I’m gonna tell you? Fuck it. Seriously – are you going to magically fix your family problems because someone stuck a tree in your living room and cooked some turkey? Don’t think so. Don’t force yourself to FIX things.
I’ll even go a step further, don’t force yourself to meet with people you don’t wanna see, and talk to people you don’t wanna talk to. You’re not talking to them for a good reason. Christmas is not a free pass to be forgiven just because Santa and mistletoe. If there’s issues lingering for a long time, and you’re not ready to put them behind you – don’t.
I know it’s hard and gut wrenching and guilt inducing, but I’ve powered past it and it felt GREAT. Sometimes we just gotta make peace with the way things are. Forcing yourself to do stuff you don’t wanna do with definitely make you feel blue. It even rhymes so it has to be true.
Eat Some Cake.
On the bright side, Holiday Season = some God damn great food. I’ve found that some moderate indulgence always makes me feel better. Mulled wine with the hubby, Christmas chocolates with my besties, turkey shared with my German Shepherd – yas. Comfort food all the way yo!
If you can’t bear to enjoy ANY part of the Holidays, it’s safe to say you could at least enjoy the food, no? I’m all about looking for the positives, and sometimes all that’s positive is gingerbread cake with double icing and hot chocolate with marshmallows.
On a couch watching movies by candle light, under a fluffy blanket. Come on, it’s gotta feel at least a little better, right?
If not, think about it this way – it’s 2 months out of your life tops. What’s 2 months? Think about January. Everyone will fuck off to their own lives, broke and 10 pounds heavier. That’s surely something to look forward to?
With lots of fall and winter LOVE,
Eva x 😉