I absolutely love the holidays and Christmas is my favorite. There are many reasons why I love it, but one of the biggest reasons is that it’s the only time during the year that my entire family gets to be together. I wish they were able to visit more often, but their lives don’t allow it at this time. We usually have a fun-filled week of hanging out, exploring our town, and relishing in our Christmas traditions.
The week or sometimes weeks after the last family member leaves, I feel down, gloomy, unmotivated, and irritable. I feel like I need to make drastic changes. That I need to go back in time. I remember my past mistakes and feel bad about them all over again. I hurt. I think it would be easier if I knew my family would always be together, or that we would be together more often, but life doesn’t always work out that way.
It doesn’t help that this happens most during our darkest, coldest days. I’m definitely a person who is affected by sunshine and daylight. Like many, I crave the light to feel positive, energetic, and motivated. When it gets dark, I sometimes feel that way, too. After I get over losing my brother to his sunny beach home, this feeling comes and goes.
I get nervous that it’ll hit me hard the upcoming season, but now that I know how I might feel, I combat it better. One year, after losing two grandparents and having particularly difficult issues with our family, it hit me the hardest I’ve ever felt. I wanted time to stop. I wanted to go back to being a child, living at home, surrounded by my family. I couldn’t stop crying. Eventually, that too, passed.
Many people are affected by seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. If your symptoms feel too overbearing or last awhile, I recommend speaking with someone. Although many of us have similar symptoms, it affects us all differently.
I’ve learned to expect to feel sad, disappointed, and at a loss. I’ve also learned not to let myself dwell too long or get too down. I’ve learned to let go of things from the past and to give myself grace. I truly have a wonderful life and I’m thankful for so many things.
I write down things I’m thankful for, say my prayers, read motivational stories, go for walks outside, make to-do lists, and talk about it. If all else fails, I watch “Parks and Rec.”
Take advantage of the sunny days, even when they’re cold; open your blinds, go outside, go for a drive. Live your life and love your life. Even in the gloomiest days, we truly have so much to be thankful for.
Do you suffer from SAD? How do you combat it? –Katie