I'm struggling ya'll. I mean, December through February is always a hard time for me, but this week I am barely making it.
It's like someone muted my joy button. Pretty much everything that I can usually count on to bring a smile to my face feels like.... nothing. My amazing kiddos, my wonderful partner, my friends, job I love, sunshine, wild daffodils, lemon bars, binge watching Netflix, Crossfit, Harrison the Pug, warm baths, even Lizzo (so you know shit is bad!)
I've been here before and I have some tools in my toolbox for moments like this. I have heard in countless 12 step meeting to 'fake it till you make it.' Those sober alcoholics drinking bad coffee in church basements are onto something folks, and science backs up this idea of behaving as if in order to change your actual feelings.
It may be slow and small but I get up, hug my kids and give them compassionate attention. It doesn't feel good, but I do it anyway. I kiss my husband and thank him for coffee, even though I don't feel thankful. I show up for a business meeting and behave like a woman grateful for amazing work. I go to Crossfit and I act like someone who is happy and lucky for the ability to move and exercise, even though I actually want to curl up into a ball and quit.
On the surface this advice would seem contradictory for someone who believes in transparency and honesty. This is the thing though, depression is a liar. Depression tells me everything is awful and always will be. And That. Is. Bullshit. Each time I act as if I fight back against that lie. And then the most amazing thing happens!
As the days go on I actually start to feel teeny bits of joy, gratitude and enjoyment. Those good feelings begin to grow and one day I find myself truly feeling grateful for my amazing life. And I'm not just making this up, Dr. Laurie Santos of The Happiness Lab offers scientific proof that gratitude will actually make us feel better! (Please note I also get support from medication and therapy. I consider this a complimentary tool for managing mental health.)
Do you struggle with seasonal depression this time of year too? What are some things you have in your toolbox that help? I'd love to hear more about your journey, we're all in this together guys, I believe in you. xoxo