conquering the sads

New York is a hard place to thrive. It's emotionally taxing, financially exhausting and oh so over-stimulating.

I love the beautiful people here and the exposed hearts from which their fears and desires overflow. I love the abundance of quality cuisines, the deluge of taste I just recently came to appreciate. I love my small, but mighty community my fiance and I have cultivated, for without them I don't think I could make it up here. But with its apparent charm and bountiful flavor New York also bares fruit to a more somber side: cold winters, expensive rent and that nagging feeling of loneliness big cities are often wrapped in.

I find it much easier to flourish in the Fall and Spring when the weather is mild, when itt is almost welcoming. But Winters are rough, especially for this southern somebody.

Since moving up here I've found that my psyche cycles with the seasons. I notice a discernible change when it starts to get cold outside. The days get shorter, dusk comes sooner and my mind wanders deeper. The winter blues, seasonal affective disorder, depression; the feelings do not lack names; but for the last three years it lacked a solution.

This year I made it my mission to conquer winter, maybe not with a smile on my face, but fiercely nonetheless. I didn’t make it without a few rounds of tears and nights kept up late tossing and turning away from the blues, but today is the first day of Spring and I feel a little bit better than yesterday.

Here’s a few things I did this Winter to help cope with the SADs. I use the same devices when coping with the lowercase sads as well.

Make plans. Keep a planner and plan out your week. Fill in the blank spaces when you mind tends to wander deepest into the dark with coffee dates and movie nights, poetry readings and art classes. Be in the presence of others even if you don’t have quite the energy to interact with them.

Reach out. I’ve always been known for being “blunt.” I think that might be code word for bitchy or obnoxious, but it has served me well in this season of life. Tell your friends and close acquaintances you’re struggling. Be honest. I’ve been invited to many more seemingly random gatherings and dinner groups because of it. So far I haven’t weirded too many people out, which is why I’m sharing this on my blog. People need people.

Spruce up. Decorate your space with cozy earthy elements. My collection of plants, pots, candles and crystals have brought me joy and comfort when the dark side overcomes the light. Make a little nook of your favorite things. Mine is on my bedside table. It’s nice to look at pretty things before settling into bed.

Dive in. Dive into to something you love. For me that was blogging and my Faith. I didn’t feel like doing either, but I put them in my planner and made them a priority. They were both things bigger than myself that seemed to have bigger meaning than the thoughts in my head. So I guess this is a time to say thanks for following along. Your comments of encouragement has meant more to me than you know. Thanks for reading. Knowing I’m not the only one out there has helped sweep away the SADs.

*If you need help, get help. These little tips were also used in conjunction with professional doctors, meds, etc.

These photos are of me genuinely happy after a full (spontaneous sads vacation) weekend spent with a good friend I can reach out to. Thanks, girl.