I don’t know about anyone else, but wow did this winter take a toll on my mental health. Even with taking prescribed medication and removing myself from a toxic situation in my life, these past few months did not do me any good. From experiencing extreme irritability, exhaustion, being constantly burnt out, never wanting to get out of bed, constant napping, major lack of motivation and everything else, I need these next few months to be 10 times better than the last. A little personal background, I have been diagnosed with both depression and anxiety within the last few years, but I’ve experienced symptoms for almost 10 years now. At 22 years old, I have learned to live with it and have (mostly) established healthy coping mechanisms in order to survive day to day. After the battle I had with my mental health over the last few months, I am here to speak my goals into existence. I know that not everyone’s depression and anxiety show exact similar symptoms, nor is there a universal cure, but hopefully these suggestions can help at least one person in making a better version of themselves.
- Soak up all the sunshine
Boy, have I missed bright skies and having to wear my sunglasses. The gloomy blanket that winter causes the sky to cover up with is such a damper on my mood. Who wants to go outside and do anything when you look up and just feel bleh. My motivation was at an all time low from around mid-November just until mid-February, if I’m being honest. Now that the sun has come out, I can just feel my inner sunshine trying to escape and match the rays that are beaming from the sky. Maybe it’s because I’m a Gemini with a June birthday, but my-oh-my do I just thrive in the summer. Music blasting, windows down, or sitting by the pool, I am soaking up all the sun I can get this year!
- E X E R C I S E
Read it, then read it again, then do it. With the low motivation I’ve had and barely having a drive to get out of bed, how in the heck do you expect me to work out at all? I know I gained some weight over this winter, but I sort of lost any care about how my body looked because I could cover it up with baggy sweatshirts. My mom says that I’ve always just been comfortable with my body, but I really have not. I’ve always been a little chubbier than others my age, especially because I am only 5’1. In my head, working out always seems like such an easy feat; both my depression and anxiety like to disagree and greatly decrease my motivation, as well as finding a million reasons why not to do it. It is always an internal fight in my brain and it is very exhausting. With the sun coming out more and the weather warming up, I am going to hold myself accountable to go outside and go for a walk, maybe a jog, or if I’m feeling really frisky, maybe I will add a little run in. Like I said, this is me putting this in writing so that maybe someone else can hold me to my word, too!
- Fix those eating habits, girl
Once again, this is @ myself. My diet is the opposite of one; I eat what I want when I want. That needs to change. I’ve experimented with intermittent fasting, only allowing myself to eat during a certain time frame and this would work well at the beginning before I slowly drove myself off the cliff by caving and binging with midnight snacks, which was usually chocolate. I have greatly increased my water intake, so that is one thing I’ve got going for me. Meal prepping seems like a pretty simple task, but after two days of eating my version of a healthy burrito bowl (cauliflower rice, low calorie ingredients), I was already sick of it. Figuring out a healthy schedule and following this menu will be so beneficial as it will curb my snack cravings and keep me fuller, longer. Here’s to creating weekly menus and stickin’ to it!
- Personal projects
For Christmas, I was given a Cricut machine along with tons of materials to get started with. This took up the majority of my break in January, but I’ve slowed down since then because of this school thing I’ve got going on. I would like to get back into it more after I can prioritize my time between classes, my part-time job, and my hobbies. Another thing I mean by personal projects is I have found myself finding one thing to clean or organize, and I usually do this on Sunday’s. Whether this be doing laundry (like actually, washing, drying, folding, putting it away, the whole nine), going through a section of my closet, sorting through my hoarder collection of t-shirts and hoodies, cleaning my car, or even going through other random stuff I’ve thrown around my room. This is a great habit I’ve gotten into and hope I can push myself to stick with it!
- Do you, boo
This one is pretty broad, but very important. Do me as in do what it is that will make me happy. Do what it is that will prevent any toxic stress or negative energy that could affect me. Do what it is to make my boyfriend, my family, and my friends know that they are important to me. After the toll this seasonal depression has had on me, these people deserve an award for dealing with me (especially my boyfriend – thanks for being the ultimate support system, honey). Do what it is to better myself as a student, a future educator, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a girlfriend, and most importantly, a person.
Hopefully this resonates with someone as much as this will help hold me accountable to do the things to better myself. Here’s to brighter days and a brighter future.