Seasonal sadness, seasonal affective disorder, winter depression or the winter blues. No matter what we call it, feeling down during this dark cold time of year is a reality for more than 10 million Americans.
That's in a normal year, and this is not a normal year. So I have three ideas to share for ways you can be soft with yourself through seasonal sadness.
First, please remind yourself that you are not alone. Research shows that loneliness and isolation can compound feelings of winter depression. So try to pick up the phone today, arrange a video visit with a loved one or bundle and mask up to meet a friend outside. I know, these things take energy too. So give yourself permission to take it slow and give yourself all the space you need.
Second, take in whatever sunshine is available to you, particularly in the morning. Psychologists believe that morning light cues you to wake up and feel more alert. Sit by a sunny window or take a short walk before you begin your day. You can also consider purchasing a full spectrum artificial light box, which has been shown in some studies to alleviate seasonal depressive symptoms.
Finally, be soft with yourself in the literal sense. Dig around for your most cozy socks. Find your most luscious blanket or scarf, pour a warm beverage that makes you feel hugged on the inside and wrap yourself in clothing that embraces you on the outside. Speak gently to yourself, whispering aloud if you need to, that you are safe and loved. And that this winter, like all others, will end.
After all, as Mother Teresa is quoted as saying, love is a fruit in season at all times and within reach of every hand. Wishing you a soft season, good health and authentic positivity today and every day.