It currently doesn't feel like winter here in the Midwest but that doesn't mean the season's gloom and doom hasn't been upon us. November came roaring in pretty harsh and completely halted my daily movement/exercise/outdoors activities. If you know me, you know how I absolutely loathe winter. I've been known to cancel plans because it's too windy, too cold, or too snowy. Yep, I just can't stand the outdoors this time of year. Even if it is meeting someone indoors somewhere, the idea of having to travel outside at all makes me shiver, literally.
This is my second winter as a stay at home mom. Last winter we lived at my in-laws while our house was being built so even though last winter was much, much colder, there were other adults to interact with and a heated shop to go play in every now and then. This year? Completely different and to the point where I was finding myself using the word: depressed.
Depressed that there was no one to interact with without a toddler getting into something the background. Depressed at the fact that I couldn't take my son outside for long because of the frigid temps (toddlers don't like to keep gloves on). Depressed that there isn't anything to do with a toddler outside especially when there's no snow. Depressed that it was so dark all the time. Depressed that I didn't go anywhere other than the grocery store, but even that started to become a chore. Just a case of the winter blahs that were turning into much more.
One day in December there was a break in the weather and I found myself volunteering to take the dog for a walk. On that walk, I really started to think about WHY this season had me so shook up. How did I function in the world for so many years going to a job every day when I was struggling to get out of bed now? The answer: I HAD to go to work. I HAD to leave the house. I HAD to be somewhere else. Now? Shit, I could even have the groceries delivered if I really wanted. I never HAD to leave the house. My hobbies are all within my home. We weren't going out on dates because we were trying to save money. I was literally not leaving and pretty soon DAYS were going by and the furthest I ventured was the post office, a trip that takes less than 10 minutes.
For awhile, this plan seemed ok. I had a great online workout plan that kept me moving. I had my toddler son running back and forth in the basement. But Christmas came and it all came to a screeching halt. The dark days piled on and I quit moving.The happy endorphin that I was getting from that exercise slipped away. I started not eating as well. I started letting my son and myself be attached to a screen too much. I started napping with my son and feeling tired all the time. Things just got ugly. The beginning of January brought some nights out with friends and instead of me leaving refreshed, I felt like I was slowly started to lose my socialization skills. I came home crying to my husband that I felt like I was severely missing something in my life, as if I didn't know how to be around people anymore. This was going on in my life yet I am giving presentations to people about working out and being healthier and making better choices. I started to feel like a fraud.
I knew I had to do something.
I'm not here to tell you I've completely snapped out of it. I'm here to tell you that LIFE happens. I am here to tell you what I am doing to get myself on a better path again. There are days I'm not completely out of it. We still have good days and bad days. But my household is in a much better place as February is on the horizon.
- I recognized what was causing my sadness. That brief walk helped clear my mind and truly pinpoint my issue. Doing that helped me to identify a solution. I needed something that I HAD to go do. Maybe not every day, but something that forced us out of the house and that was fun! Not just grocery shopping.
- I took action. I enrolled my son in gymnastics. He goes once a week but there's an option to go more for some open gym time. He loves it. I love it. We both need it in different ways.
- I committed to eating better. Part of this downward spiral also meant my food intake was severely out of whack. I was eating junk. I was drinking too much coffee. So now I've been stocking our fridge with fruits and veggies so we only have nutritious items to much on. I've been switching up coffee with tea every now and then and have found myself to be less irritable. I have been chugging water! (Reading this blog helped that one.)
- I picked a new exercise! I was rocking my online program. But the truth of it was, I missed running. I miss getting good and sweaty, jamming out to my music, and being ALONE. My online program meant my son was usually right next to me. Which was fine. But it wasn't refreshing my soul like it should. So I reached out to my wellness center and am coming up with a plan to make sure I get there a few times each week so I can put some miles on. I don't need to spend HOURS there. But 20 minutes? I can get a lot done in 20 minutes.
So why am I sharing all of this with you? I share this with you first of all to tell you to not take depression lightly. I'm not here to say I have a ton of experience with it but just what I have personally felt these past months has been unpleasant. If you're depressed and can't snap out of it alone, please get help. I also share this with you because it's real. I'm not some perfect, work out all the time, eat right all the time, pushing fitness down your face person. I struggle too. And if I can share my story and help someone else snap out of it, then that's what I am here to do. You're human. You're going to have moments where you fall off the bandwagon, but it's all the times you get back on that make you better than you were before. Keep going. I believe in you.
PS-I also increase my vitamin D intake when the weather can't help me out.