The fun of the holidays is over. The family has gone home, the parties have ended, and the good will towards strangers seems to have gone out the window. The weather is less than pleasant, and in some places downright nasty. We’ve been so busy over the last few weeks and complete and total burn-out has occurred. The anxiety and stress and holidays is turning into the depression and loneliness of the rest of winter. The post holiday slump has hit, and it is a crummy place to be. What’s a girl to do? Un-slumping isn’t always easy, but there are definitely things we can do that help.
1- Get Up, Dress Up, Show Up
It may sound simple, but one of the biggest things I can do to un-slump myself is just get up at a decent time and get dressed each morning. There seems to be a direct relationship between the amount of time I lay in bed dreading the day and the crap factor of the day’s events. It starts a snowball of trying to catch up with my day instead of getting out ahead of the problems. Kids are whiny and hungry, fights are happening, breakfast is late leading to every other meal and bedtime being late as well. As hard as it is to leave my warm blankets, lying around is a decision I’ll definitely regret come 30 minutes past bedtime when I’m losing my mind trying to get everyone into their pajamas.
OK, so we can see why getting up is a necessary evil, but getting dressed is going a bit too far right? I know it sounds a bit crazy, but I promise you that if you put on real clothes every morning you will see an improvement in your life. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but putting on anything that isn’t pajama pants signals the brain that it’s time to get moving. I feel more put together and ready to take on the day. I don’t bother with a full face of make-up most days, but adding on a quick swipe of mascara makes me feel more awake and ready to face the day. Also if we do have to leave the house then I’m already ready to go and can focus on getting the kids ready. As an added bonus when I’m out and about and know that I’m not a total hot mess I get a lot more mood boosting compliments.
2- Early to Bed
We’ve all heard it “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise!” The truth is that we all have different circadian rhythms and many people just don’t naturally hit the sack early. Unfortunately our kiddos don’t care. They’re going to get up whenever their body tells them no matter what time you went to bed. Adequate sleep is not only going to help with your energy levels, but it is essential for your physical and mental health. The average woman needs 7-9 hours of sleep a day. Once I factor in the nursing baby that means I need to be in bed for 8-10 hours to get that much sleep. I made a commitment to myself that for one week I would get to bed by 10pm each night and I had my alarm set for 7:30. It was amazing the difference in mood I experienced just with that one small change vs. my previous bedtime of around midnight.
3- Get Moving
We’ve all heard it, exercise will help boost moods. Only one problem. Exercise isn’t exactly a lot fo fun and frankly most of us just don’t have time for it unless we’re going to give up sleep. It’s ok, you can still get your body moving without doing a formal exercise program. Take just 5 minutes to get a good full body stretch when you get up in the morning. Do a squat or lunge each time you need to pick up a toy or baby. Pick up your walking pace just a smidge when moving around the house or doing the grocery shopping. Do a little dancing with the kiddos when their movie end credits or show theme song plays. Do calf raises while brushing your teeth and arm exercises while watching TV. Fold laundry standing up instead of sitting down. There are thousands of little ways you can get a bit of extra movement into your day and improve your overall health.
4- Food is Fuel
Hey let’s face it, food is fun. Oftentimes it’s that can of Coke or piece of chocolate that gets me through a rough moment or day. Please don’t get down on yourself if your food choices aren’t always perfect. We’re busy, tired, and flat-out don’t have time to be Martha Stewart in the kitchen! It is important, however, to make sure you are getting adequate nutrition to fight the winter time blues. Focus on getting lean proteins, Omega-3’s, Vitamin D, and antioxidants to specifically battle depression. Check out this Web-MD article for more good anti-depression diet tips.
5- Light It Up
No I’m not telling you to smoke; I’m suggesting to literally add more light to your life. Most Americans are deficient in Vitamin D, which is exacerbated during the winter months when there is less sun and less exposed skin for it to hit. Many people have found great success in using phototherapy lights to improve their Vitamin D levels. Getting outside is important too becuase the fresh air can clear out your mind and invigorate the muscles. Go on a short walk around the neighborhood or even just stand on your front porch for a moment to renew the mind and take a break from the daily grind inside the home.
6- Essential Oils
I’m a big fan of using essential oils as mood boosters. I personally love and use DoTerra brand oils. Wild orange is an invigorating happy scent and when used in On Guard it can boost immunity as well. Another favorite is Balance when I need to even out my emotions or Serenity when I need to calm a chaotic or anxious mind. I either use them topically on the bottom of my feet or diffuse them for the whole family to enjoy.
7- Me Time/Social Time
As an introvert it is absolutely necessary that I get a little bit of me time every day. Whether I read a book, play some Candy Crush, or soak in a hot bath I just need to be alone with my thoughts. Easier said than done in a small house with 8 kiddos, but I do my best. If you’re an extrovert you may need to replace me time with social time. Get out of the house, even if it’s just to take your kiddos to the park and say hi to someone. Whether you are introverted or extroverted you may find that your needs flip-flop on some days. Make sure you are in tune with your feelings and get yourself the solitude or interaction that you need.
8- Head to the Doctor
Last, but certainly not least, don’t be afraid to head to the doctor for help. They can test you for any vitamin/mineral deficiencies, thyroid problems, hormonal imbalances, etc. that could be causing you troubles. No matter how hard you try sometimes all the natural things in the world just can’t fix whatever is off kilter in your body. YOU deserve to be happy. Don’t be afraid to admit you may need a little help o make that happen.
As I’m working on un-slumping myself I’d love to hear any other tips and tricks you have for fighting depression and anxiety. Come join our amazing Facebook community to keep the conversation going!