Trust me, this is not a clinical analysis of Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is my list of things I do to pick me up on a day-to-day basis. See, everyone I know has been a little wary, what with me moving from sunny Phoenix to the frigid Midwest. My family and friends know I’ve suffered from depression ever since I was old enough to buy black lipstick. It’s been over a year since I went off anti-depressants, and I’ve been doing great actually! However, with the creeping cold comes some creeping sadness, so here’s my list of STOP SAD NOW!
1. Happy Light / Light Box
There’s the theory that we get Seasonal Affective Disorder because we don’t get enough light. I’m not sure I buy this since I prefer rainy days to sunny ones, but I also watch horror movies to cheer me up, so … Anyway, this was my mom’s idea. Every morning, I sit in front of this big, glowing light. It’s supposed to fight SAD and give you more energy, so why not? I’ve been using it for over a week now, and I like it. I’m not sure I’ve noticed an emotional difference, but nothing like blinding white light to get your eyes open at 7 AM. Here’s an example.
2. 80s Music
Granted, the only reason I figured this out was because of my novel, BITE SOMEBODY, the characters in which adore everything 80s. I dare you to sit still and not smile while listening to bad 80s music. Here’ s an example. Dance, you maniac!
3. Happy Tea
Developed for me by my witchy friend Debi Brady (she’s not actually a witch; I just like to pretend she is), I drink a cup of “Happy Tea” every day. Here’s the rundown:
2 parts St. John’s Wort
2 parts Scullcap
1 part Red Raspberry Leaf
.5 part Peppermint Leaf
(Toss in some Catnip and Nettle for a little boost, too.)
I buy organic herbs in bulk and then mix up a batch of leaves in a tupperware container to bust out and scoop into my tea ball every morning. Sometimes, I use it twice a day. It’s nice with some freshly juiced ginger and orange blossom honey.
4. Find a (Healthy) Obsession
It’s no secret: I’m obsessed with Benedict Cumberbatch. Between work assignments, I troll Trumblr to find new pictures of him smiling. He’s aesthetically pleasing, all right? You need to find your equivalent, whether it’s pictures of puppies, Star Wars trailers, or making canned beets. Find something that can immediately, quickly, drag you from the depths and obsess. I give you permission.
5. The Gym
I joke that I’d be a homicidal maniac if I didn’t work out (I have anger issues), but really, it’s great for my joy levels, too. I go to a fantastic gym, by the way: Everybodies Gym in Chardon. The owner is possibly as obsessed with Halloween as I am, because there are creepy clowns that hang from the ceiling and spooky lighting. I adore it. There’s nothing like a good treadmill pounding to shake the blues away. Add some heavy lifting to get that extra kick!
6. Funny Friends
My closest friends are the ones that make me laugh, and there’s a reason. Laughing is fun, so the more we laugh, the better we feel … So if a friend makes you laugh, you’re going to want to hang out with him/her more. Find funny friends. Find friends who say hilarious, inappropriate things. Find friends who send you stupid videos of their dogs. Find friends who don’t judge you over Cards Against Humanity. And you know that Negative Nancy who just bitches about her kids/husband/bowel movements/etc? Get rid of her. She’s just dragging you down.
7. Talk to Strangers (the stranger the better)
We tell kids “Don’t talk to strangers,” but you’re an adult, so talk to strangers. At Big Lots, I was looking at knock-off perfume, and this lady asked me which one she should buy. We spent ten minutes spraying every sample bottle on different parts of my forearm. I reeked for days but left the store laughing. I met my friend, Keri, at a beer fest because I thought she was hot and told her so. Now, she’s one of those “funny friends.” Same goes for Deidre, who told me at a bonfire that she was a porn star. (She isn’t, but I love that this was her go-to response.) Talk to people you don’t know. Smile at them. It’s like a shock of happy to your system.
A final thought: Seasonal Affective Disorder (and depression in general) sucks, and my tactics might not be your tactics. Some people need medication. Some people need therapy. You have to figure out what works for you, but once you figure it out, keep doing it. Lift the funk and live your life. With love xoxo