Kylea Wright – Baltimore, MD
The holiday season can feel overwhelming and exhausting. Maybe it’s an expectation vs. reality thing, maybe it’s having everything not feel exactly right, maybe it’s a weird version of FOMO (fear of missing out) and believing somewhere out there is a bunch of people having the holiday party of your dreams. When the holidays are finally over, we feel like swimmers returning to the surface for air. If you find yourself feeling a little downbeat around the holidays, I have a list for you (and I checked it twice)!
Don’t compromise on what’s important.
I’m not talking, “make sure you always get that workout in girl!” type of no compromise. I’m talking the “I will lay in bed and press snooze for 30 minutes,” type of no compromise. Ask yourself, “What is really important to me? What makes me not feel crazy?” and celebrate that part of your routine. Press snooze, let your conditioner sit in your hair for a full five minutes, waste the time you need to waste to allow yourself to feel in control despite the holiday rush.
Cut yourself some slack.
Don’t feel like you have to keep your strict exercise regime if it’s just not working for you. If working out makes you feel good and keeps your energy up, that’s wonderful. But, if you miss a workout or any part of the routine you *should* be following, don’t let the guilt get to you. Doing healthy things to take care of yourself is only healthy if you can forgive yourself for being human. Sure, it’s great to run three times a week, but it’s damaging to internally berate yourself for skipping out one morning.
Get some sun.
Seasonal depression is real, and lots of people suffer from it. Try to get outside for a 20 minutes walk, or if you’re feeling really sun-deprived, (and don’t have a family or personal history of skin cancer and practice skin safety) slide into a tanning bed for 10 minutes, max. Remember to wear sunscreen so you don’t get burnt and then enjoy those 10 mins of self time. Tanning beds are warm, and allow you to spend some time doing nothing other than focusing on feeling warm and relaxed. (The added glow during the long months of sun deprivation also gives me a self confidence boost!)
Create a feel good playlist.
I have a playlist titled “F-O”, which stands for “female orgasm.” It is a compilation of songs I believe are about celebrating the beauty of female orgams. They include hits such as “Bubbly” by Colbie Caillat and “Love Myself” by Hailee Steinfeld. When I can’t motivate myself to put my feet on the cold floor and face the day, I play songs from this playlist to make me laugh. Sometimes I play it as I’m walking to work and smile when I pass someone on the street because they have no idea I am listening to songs about women masturbating, and it makes me feel mysterious and silly. Find your feel good playlist, and grin like an idiot while you walk down the street.
What we think often becomes what we believe, so take some time to think something beautiful. Write a love letter to someone you love, someone you’ve lost or to a complete stranger. There is a wonderful project called Move Love Letters, where you can read the story of a stranger and send them a love letter because the world feels like a better place when we remember to love each other.
Allow yourself to feel.
Sometimes the only way to feel better is to allow yourself to fully experience the emotion at hand. You don’t have to be shiny and happy all the time. It’s ok to binge eat cookies while watching Netflix and feel a little melancholy for a while. Sometimes the quickest path to feeling better is to feel bad.
Have an anti- party.
Holiday parties often fall short of our expectations. Work parties, family parties, whatever party that you are hosting that secretly makes you feel dead inside. Rebel and have an Anti-Party that you don’t have to invite your annoying aunt to, cook for five hours or make sure the house is clean. Invite only the few people you want to see, order a gross greasy pizza and drink all the cheap beer and wine you want without fear of an awkward run in with a coworker.
While the holidays might feel like an emotional struggle for some of us, for others the struggle is much more real. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, deliver meals to the homeless, hand out gloves and coats at a local shelter. Contribute to something bigger than yourself and remember everything you have to be thankful for.
*For an estimated 1.2 million women in the US, depression is not something that can be overcome with eight simple suggestions. One in eight women will develop clinical depression within their lifetimes, but an estimated 30% to 80% of these cases will be misdiagnosed and many will not be diagnosed at all. If you feel like depression could be affecting your life, contact your doctor, a therapist and reach out to friends. You are not alone.*