Are you sad? 

alone, gloomy, winter, fog

We’ve all had sad days, but are you one who may be afflicted by S.A.D.? Also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or seasonal depression, this disorder affects approx 3 million people per year. Usually self-diagnosable, SAD is characterized by fatigue, mood swings, sadness/loneliness, loss of interest, withdrawing socially, sleep issues (insomnia or excessive sleep), appetite changes and irritability (among other symptoms). 

Be sure to talk to your doctor about any of these symptoms and if they have any connection to other issues, medication or lifestyle choices. I’m NOT a doctor! This post is NOT to diagnose you or treat any illness. I’ll be outlining here some general health and wellness lifestyle tips that you can choose to implement every day (or not) for a more positive and healthy outlook.

Lack of bright sunshine in the winter months can certainly play a part in our mood and energy levels. Yes, it can be attributed to lack of vitamin D, but also bright light during the day tells your body to produce ‘awake’ hormones, just as lack of light at night should stimulate ‘sleepy’ hormones. The fact that we have so much artificial light in our modern lives after dark is a prime suspect for messing with our natural sleep cycles. 

Stimulate those awake hormones by substituting bright lights in your home. Look into getting a light box, or other lamp that has a natural light bulb to simulate natural bright daylight as much as possible. 

Also consider a high quality D vitamin. But, if you are taking D and not seeing any positive change, it may be you are low on calcium, as Calcium actually helps process and utilize vitamin D. In general, I would talk to your doctor about a good calcium/magnesium/potassium supplement as all of these work synergistically together to support wellness, and utilize other nutrients your body may be lacking. 

Exercise. I’m gonna say that again. Exercise. I know it is hard to get up and move, especially when you are feeling lousy, tired, worn out, cold and just want to retreat into your cozy couch and zone out to Netflix. I get it! But of any of the tips that will help move you into a happier mood and make you feel more energy and better about everything in life including your self-perception: Exercising is #1. 

Don’t make it complicated. Just start with 50 jumping jacks once or twice a day. This will literally take less time than listening to your favorite song on spotify. Then every day, add 1 more jumping jack. Or just go till the end of that fav song of yours. Do this 5 days a week, and as long as you are genuinely breathless at the end, than you have done a great job; keep it up. 

Do you have a staircase in your house? Walk up and down 10 times (once down and back up = one rep). Add one rep each time. Browse pinterest for easy at home cardio exercises and pick 3 that you can rotate with that you like and don’t hurt your joints or something, and just get moving. Again; DON’T over complicated. So what if you don’t have great form? Who’s watching you? It doesn’t matter. As long as you are moving, breathing hard and getting your heart pumping, it doesn’t matter how you look. 

Drink more water. This time of year is especially hard for me to stay hydrated because when I’m cold, I don’t like to drink cold water, and with the dry heat, I tend to get more dehydrated. Drinking more water allows the digestion to work better and hormones communicate better. 

Get a good B complex vitamin. I have a favorite B supplement and I noticed a huge improvement last winter when I began taking it during the moody season. I highly recommend it along with these other tips. 

Read your Bible and pray about what you are thankful for; every. single. day. I know i said exercising was the most important tip here in this list; but I lied. Reading your Bible every day is more mood lifting and heart supporting than any cardio. Even on days when you are trudging through the old testament law thinking, ‘why in the world do I need to know this stuff?’… that is the Living Word you are filling your heart, mind and day with. It is changing your very soul without you knowing it and it is moving you closer to the Savior. This is for sure the most important advice I could give. Find all the promises in scripture that are pointed directly to you. Remind yourself of those promises daily and how God has/was/is/will make good on those promises. (“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jer. 29:11) 

Break the ‘mindless-scrolling’ cycle. Even if for just 10 mins. Get up, move to the other side of the room. Watch the rain come down out the window. Time yourself and tidy one corner of a room for 8 mins. Do something creative. Cook a new recipe. (your gonna eat anyway). Learn a new skill (youtube has endless tutorials; for free!). Stop comparing people’s highlight reels to your daily grind. Just stop. (also, no judgment here, as I find myself in this same loop often. I have to talk straight to my self, so talking straight with you too. In Love. ).

Listen to upbeat, positive music. Music with hope and peace in the lyrics. I know when I’m down I tend to put on moody playlists that just gets me even more low or ‘moody’. Try circumventing that cycle and get some good worship tunes or hymns that direct your thoughts up and out, not in and down. (current faves: “restless” & “even unto death” by Audrey Assad; “tremble” by Amanda Cook; “all my hope” by Crowder) 

Half the battle here is a mind battle. Or a spiritual battle, you could say. It’s not so much a ‘mind over matter’ or ‘power of positive thinking’ issue. So do not get down on yourself for feeling sad… this is a natural, healthy emotion. Feel it, all the sad feels; but don’t stay in the space. Cry your tears (tears are healing), but then dry the tears, move on knowing your stronger. Knowing that even in your weakness, God is strong. Phil 4:13. 

Make a ‘thankful list’, 10 things you’re thankful for everyday. There is so much research that has been done on this in how it affects a person’s mood and contentment levels. 

Find an accountability buddy. (AKA, accountabilibuddy) 🙂 Check in daily with this person to let them know you did your reading, thankful list, jumping jacks and drank some water. Ask them what positive music they are listening to today. Discuss the scriptures that stood out to you when you were reading that day. Whether this is your spouse, sister, friend, mom, brother, church member or ME, make a daily reminder for yourself to check in so you stay on track. 

We are all in this crazy roller coaster of life together. Sometimes the emotions and feelings we feel are so strong and heavy. And we think we are the only ones in the world with these issues. Those feelings are real and hard, but they are not to be trusted. (“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jer 17:9) Don’t let the weight of those moments allow you to live with a lifetime of regret. You are not alone. You are never alone.

We are all down in the trenches fighting our daily battles; wouldn’t it be nice to know you have allies? Well, you do. I’d love to help cheer you on to wellness and would appreciate your accountability as well. Feel free to reach out if you need an accountabilibuddy! 

Ps – I’d love to hear your experience with any or all of this. Have you tried some of these tips? How did they help or not? What would you say to your past self when you felt what seemed irrational feelings or thought irrational thoughts? 

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