The Cold Weather Depression

Did you know that as it gets colder outside that people’s mood shifts?  This is super true and super real.  People start to go down and depression is at an all time high. It could be the weather, it could be the changes in the leaves and things slowly doing their dying/vegetation stage or the fact that as it gets colder the closer we get to the holidays.

I am generally a holiday person but I notice too that I have to be mindful of my moods more often during the colder months.  My kids are what balances me.  They don’t allow for me to have too much of a down time and that’s super great.  Although I know my husband and I are great parents and we push through, let’s get it real I get in the dumps often.  So what do I do during the months leading up to the holidays? I get aware like never before of my triggers.

My personal triggers:

  1. My mother in law being gone has been one.  The year is slowly approaching like in a few days, and that alone has me shifting as I watch my husband and kids shift.  I can see pain and I am dealing with my own.  For that reason, we have made sure to be careful of any extra drama into our home.  This means in conversations, deeds, petty arguments etc.  We are aware.
  2. Holiday commercials.  I think they are great. But the onset of them being super early even for me who is a planner gets to me.  I was in the store and I am still grabbing things for Halloween and I saw Christmas stuff and I am like are you serious?  The reason is it sets my anxiety and now I am trying to focus on meal planning for Thanksgiving and these stores and shoving Christmas at me and I can’t take it.
  3. Drama-Any onset of drama gets me.  To elevate that, I don’t allow it. This is major.  Had this been a few years especially before my kids were born, I would have popped popcorn, and starred in it.
  4. Cold gloomy days-rain is a mood downer on its own, but… cold rainy days or snowy days that don’t produce enough snow to get me or the kids a day off is a downer.  I do not like snow.  I do not like cold.  So I really make sure that I am upbeat, play different music, whatever it takes to get through.  Perception is always key to get through.
  5. Black or dark grey-it works great in the Winter to layer but I will intentionally add color even if it’s in scarf to avoid my mood shifting.
  6. Complaining-I could be a professional one however even I get sick of it.  So now instead of complaining or being around complainers, I just figure out what the core issue is and handle that.
  7. Lack of physical activity-take that how you like. I try to keep my workout strong because with all of the comfort foods you kind of have to.  I tell myself that working out allows me my wine moments.  When activities get low as snow piles up I get my wine in.  This is why babies are born conceived the most during the Winter months.  So be careful.
  8. Social events-I love the idea of dressing and getting ready to go somewhere until its time to go.  Days before my stomach starts to hurt.  The day of I start to get sick or my head starts to hurt. To push past that is simple as going, but pushing past my thoughts are harder to do than slipping on a pair of heels.

Whatever your personal triggers are, be aware.  Have a plan in site.  Speak to someone you trust.  The list of mine may seem trivial but if I let myself go, the outcome of that can be devastating to myself and my family. I know for a fact I am not the only one.  This is why you need to be connected to the right people who can recognize that you are spiraling or you are withdrawing too.

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Make sure that you find what makes you happy.  Get healthy.  The second I get sick, it doesn’t help my mood.  Not only am I focused on getting better but it takes me 3 times harder to get out if I am having a depression trigger right before I get sick.  Sometimes I can get sick, if I allow myself to get too boggled down.

Even after you notice your triggers and work really hard not to allow them to get to you, it still may.  Knowing what you like that can get you out before you get in is key. Not everyone is the same.  Sometimes music does it.  Sometimes being outside helps.  You may need to get counseling during the Winter months.  Whatever it is, get it and make sure you are clear on what that looks like and get it.

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Things you can do to get ahead of it:

  1. Write and keep a gratitude journal
  2. Buy flowers for yourself
  3. Meet up with a special friend once a month
  4. Purchase a special drink
  5. Have a certain go to song
  6. Do something for others
  7. Wear a color that reminds you to stay focused
  8. Bright Nail colors or color art
  9. Keep healthy
  10. Eat right
  11. Do not-self medicate
  12. Talk to someone
  13. Reach out to one person
  14. Check in on others

IF you experience at any time not just when the Winter months come a slight or even worse case of suicidal thoughts please contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline

 

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