Episode 40 - 8 Simple Tips to Beat SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)Jan 19, 2022
The early months of the year can be the hardest for us all. The festive season has come to a close, the weather is awful (in the UK, at least) the days are still short and we can’t help wishing that spring didn’t feel like so far around the corner.
At the same time, we’re trying to focus on how we move forwards in our lives and businesses over the coming months.
For years, I struggled through these months because I’m a real spring and summer girl and adore those gorgeous long evenings, waking up to sunlight and feeling the warmth of the sunshine on my skin. Can you relate?
Then I realised. It was up to me to take control. Using some of the holistic lifestyle tips and tricks I’ve mastered over the years, I could boost my mood, stay productive and survive the dreaded SAD. The results were astonishing and I want you to experience the same.
That’s why today I’ve decided to sit down and share with you a range of tips from my toolbox.
Listen to this week’s episode to discover how I:
- Wake up calmly and feel rested
- Lift my mood when I’ve had a tough day
- Stay accountable and get the exercise I need
- Ensure my body and mind are completely relaxed and recharged
- Pamper my body to soothe my mind (plus some excellent recommendations)
- Nourish myself from within using a strategic combination of food and supplements
Plus much more. Don’t miss it!
- Twice a day, I get up, I put on one of my favourite tracks and I just dance around. And it just helps me switch gears. It helps me just get back into my body. And so, that's really, really important.
- Just make sure that you're thinking about the supplements that you're taking and your food intake and your hydration. Just give yourself that extra boost.
- Make sure you're adding some comedy into your weekly viewing. I just find it so, so helpful to watch comedy, especially in these times, just to laugh. The laughter just keeps me going. I made my mum watch a lot of comedies when she was going through her chemotherapy. Even when we were at the hospital, I would download films and we would just sit there and laugh our heads off.
Other resources mentioned
About the show:
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Eleshia Harris: Hey, I'm Eleshia Harris, and I am the host of The Eleshia Show where each week, we'll be having conversations about how to enhance your wellbeing. We'll be sharing strategies and stories and insights to build your business while still navigating life because sometimes we try to separate the two. And let's face it. If you are not well, you have no business. I am a holistic business growth strategist and a wellness coach who spent over 15 years in corporate before deciding to choose me first to build my brand, Eleshia Lifestyle. I'm here to teach you how to redefine what success means to you, ditch the stress and confusion, and learn how to run your business from a place of ease and excitement. Let's get into this week's episode.
Hello, and welcome back to The Eleshia Show. I hope you are all well. I wanted to sit down and have a conversation about this particular topic because I have been affected by it personally. And I know as we've come out of the festive season where we've had a lot of highs, hopefully, some of us may have had some lows as well. But now that we've come out of that real hustle and bustle and busy time, now we are trying to focus on how we go forward in our lives over the next coming weeks, months, and possibly years. And so, I just thought it was a good time to sit down and talk about SAD. Now, SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder. And I personally have been affected by it in the past. I am a spring and summer gal through and through. I love waking up to the light. And I love the long evenings. And just enjoying the sun and just knowing that people's moods are better when the sun is shining or when there's light out there.
So when it comes to the time changes in the UK, and waking up in the morning when it's dark. And then by 4:30- 5 o'clock being dark as well, sometimes that really affects my mood. So as I said, I'm here just to discuss some of the things that I have put in place to help me not struggle so much. And so, I hope that this information is good for you. I want to shout out to my listeners in St. Vincent. I am so excited that you are listening to me. My grandma lives over there so shout out to my grandma. I am hoping that one day I get to visit that beautiful country. So let's get into some of the things that I do just to really keep me sane when it comes to just feeling a little bit anxious about the darkness. I hate waking up to any type of alarm. I always have done, but I also don't like waking up when it's really, really dark.
So for years, when I was in Corporate, it was really hard for me to leave my house in the dark and then come home in the dark as well. And I hate having to wake up in the morning and do everything when it just didn't feel like it was bright or it felt like it was cold. And all you want to do is wrap up in your duvet. So that's when I started to research about natural light therapy. And research shows that it can brighten up your mood, it can make you feel more energized, it can boost your energy. So I decided to get myself a Lumie lamp. And it means that rather than waking up to an alarm, that just I hate that feeling of just being woken up. I've got a 3-year-old. So sometimes I'm in a really nice deep sleep. You know when you're having that really nice sleep and then all of a sudden somebody wakes you out of it and you're like, aaah. That's how I felt about an alarm. And I had to get up. And I used to have to get up and then go about my day.
So the Lumie lamp really was a lifesaver for me. So how it works is you program in the time that you want to wake up and then the lamp gradually comes on over that course of time, usually about 20 minutes before you want to wake up. And then it just works like the sunlight. It works like sunrise which was really beautiful for me. It was really nice and calming to my nervous system because I like to be woken up gradually. And sometimes, especially with a 3-year-old, that doesn't happen that often. So those were the days where it happened and I woke up gradually.
And to be honest with you, I use it now and it works really, really well. So Lumie light is really good if like myself, the alarm and you hate waking up in the dark, it will gradually brighten up your whole bedroom. And then it also has that common effect on your nervous system instead of you then feeling like you're going to need to jump out of bed and then start your day.
Like always, movement for me is a natural mood changer. So one of the things that I find in the autumn and winter months is that don't always necessarily want to move my body. But now, I've got into the habit especially on a Tuesday and a Thursday that I have an accountability group where we work together. Some of the Pilates teachers and I, and then on the other days, then I hold myself accountable to do some kind of movement per day. And that really, really helps just to keep me strong but also, it helps with my mood and also just my energy. It just really helps with my energy levels. So like I've said on many occasions, you'll still try to move because it just changes your mindset and you can move for as little as two minutes. You can put the kettle to boil and do some movement there, or you can put your favorite tune on and boogie away. And just to create some warmth and happiness throughout your body. I found that really, really empowering for me. So like I've previously said, if it's not in my schedule, it doesn't usually get done. So I even have, and you're going to think I'm crazy, but I need it in these winter months. So I've got dance party reminders on my phone. So twice a day, I get up, I put on one of my favorite tracks and I just dance around. And it just helps me switch gears. It helps me just get back into my body. And so, that's really, really important.
So talking about bodies, I have gotten into a really good habit of asking myself, how are you feeling, Eleshia? How are you feeling within? And I do that most mornings. And so, it just sets the scene for how my day is going to go. And like I've mentioned before, I always try and track where I am in my cycle because I know that there's going to be energy level depth. And I also know the things that I need to do to equip myself to ensure that I don't dip so low, that I just don't want to do things.
One of the things that I find really helpful for me and, let's do it together. I do a quick body scan. So I like to do this when I'm sitting in a chair and I just try to relax my shoulders. I try them for my neck so I just dropped my chin slightly. I close my eyes. I place my hands on my palms, and I just take three nice big breaths to the back. And I take three nice breaths inhaling through my nose and then expanding, making sure I'm expanding to the back of my rib cage. And then exhaling through my nose as well. And then releasing any tension that I may be feeding within my shoulders. And then I take another nice deep breath in, and then I exhale. And you can exhale through your mouth this time. And then just release any tension that you may be feeling. And again, the last one. And then exhale. And then I start to do a quick body scan throughout my body. So I start at the top of my head. And I start to just think about how I'm feeling. And then I go down to my eyes and I start to feel, and I ask myself how my eyes feeling today. And then I go to my nose, and then my cheeks. And I release any tension whilst I'm going down. And then I come to my mouth. And I just checked to see if I'm clenching my jaw. And if I am, I release to release my jaw. And then I asked myself how my neck is feeling and how my throat is feeling. And if I need to, I take a nice breath in and I release any tension. And then I come back to my shoulders. And if my shoulders have reached up to my ears, I release my shoulders down again. We take a lot of our emotions in our shoulders and our tension in our shoulders. So I tend to try and give myself a little bit more time here. So I take a nice three breaths here again. And all the time, I'm just asking myself, how am I feeling within my body?
And then I go all the way down my spine. And then I come down to my pelvis and I start to ask myself, am I tuck in my pelvis under? Or have I found a place where I'm neither tucking under nor not pushing it out but in a nice position where I feel comfortable and I don't feel like I am holding any tension there?
And I asked myself how my hips are feeling and then my knees. How are my hips feeling, and then my thighs? How are my thighs feeling? How are my hamstrings feeling? How are my knees feeling? How are my calfs feeling? And then I come to my feet. And sometimes my feet are not actually grounded on the floor. So then I just ground my feet on the floor. I press my toes down and my heels down. And I try and find a nice position where I feel like I'm grounded throughout both sides of my body equally. So I try to sway back and forth. And then find that spot where I'm not actually leaning to one side. And then I limp to my toes and I press my toes down into the mat. And then here, I just stay here and I take five more breaths or 10 more breaths depending on how much time that I have. And I just breathe. I love to do this little body scan just to see how my body is feeling before I actually start my day-to-day because then you're getting feedback from your body. And then you can actually start to think about what you need to do to ensure that you are invested in your body for the day. Was my tongue stuck to my throat when I was scanning the body? Maybe I need to hydrate a little bit more. Where are my hips hurting? Maybe I need to get down on my mat and I need to just do a few bridges. Maybe a lift for my arms over my head just to really stress. Or maybe I need to invest in a little bit more time and I need to do 10 minutes of stretches, or maybe I've got a little bit more time where I can just enjoy being with myself.
And this has really helped me just to still my brain, but also to ensure that I am taking care of myself especially in these winter months, especially as the seasonal affective disorder is real as we're in these darker times, sometimes. So it's really important to do things that you are in control of because a lot of the things that are happening in the world, we are not in control of. So anytime that you feel that you need that time just to be still then I would invite you to do a body scan to see where you're holding your tension and how that's making you feel. So I love that exercise. It really does help me.
And then in these winter months also, because we are not getting as much natural sunlight as we can, I would also think about maybe looking at your supplements and making sure that you're getting enough vitamin D. Also ensuring that you are taking some form of supplements, especially as autumn and winter. We have all different bugs happening. So just make sure that you are doing the best that you can to make sure that you are trying to stay as well as you can. So vitamin D, vitamin B. Just make sure that you're thinking about the supplements that you're taking and your food intake and your hydration. Just give yourself that extra boost. And if you don't know what you need, maybe invest in a session with a nutritionist or go to the health food shop and they may be able to recommend you some of the things that you should be taking. But I know, especially for me, and especially where I am a little bit more vintage, I know that I need to make sure that I'm taking some form of supplements to boost my energy levels to ensure that I'm doing whatever I can to keep me as healthy as I can be.
So yes, look at your vitamins and also indulge a little bit in yourself. Have magnesium baths, jazz it up with a little bit of coconut oil and some lavender or your favorite essential oils. And just indulge yourself a little bit because all of those things that I've just mentioned are really, really going to help you with relaxation. And they're also so great for the body. Magnesium is also so great for the body, your bones. As we go into our mid-forties, then we need to make sure that we are doing as much as we can for our bone health. But also, magnesium is great for period cramps. I used to have a lot of magnesium baths just after I had my daughter because I needed to put back in what I had lost. So yes, indulge in some me-time. And even if you're not above the person, soak yourself, soak your feet in magnesium. That's quite a nice thing to do. If you're watching your favorite program on Netflix, and you could just soak your feet and then give yourself a foot massage or maybe get somebody else to do it.
Also, I have recently started to really investigate some of the different blends, different essential oil blends, that I can be used to uplift myself. So full disclaimer, you know that I love Doterra oils. I've been using them for quite some time now so I am used to their benefits and how they work. So I've been playing with blends such as Frankincense and Wild Orange. I love the Balance blend. In fact, I have it here. It's the grounding blend, and it's just a lovely blend. It has Frankincense in it and Blue Chamomile and Blue Tansy and leaf oil. And it just smells divine. But it also just helps to keep me grounded. So maybe, the next time I do a body scan, maybe I'll pop some of that on as well just to see if it anchors me and helps me to ground myself more. I love that idea.
And then I love blends. And then I also love to motivate and cheer. And yes, any oils that make you feel uplifted then definitely add it into your daily regime. I like to add a couple of drops to Wildflower, to my coconut oil when I'm actually moisturizing myself and just taking my time and breathing in and just showing myself a little bit of gratitude. And that really helps too. And then I mentioned watching your favorite programmes, make sure you're adding some comedy into your weekly viewing. I just find it so, so helpful to watch comedy, especially in these times, just to laugh. The laughter just keeps me going. I made my mum watch a lot of comedies when she was going through her chemotherapy. Even when we were at the hospital, I would download films and we would just sit there and laugh our heads off.
Sometimes people would look at us and be like, what have they got to laugh at? But we had each other and we had the movies that we're watching, and we were making those memories. And I'm here smiling at the fact that we were able to do that together. And so, those appointments weren't always sad. I would make sure that we had our green juices and our favorite snacks, and something great to watch. I would always be there. We'd be laughing and joking. And I just wanted to make sure that that environment felt good for her. And that's the whole reason why I wanted to do an episode like this. Just to say, you are not alone. If you were feeling really anxious and really tired and feeling that, oh. After the holidays, I've gained a couple of extra pounds. Don't be hard on yourself. Just know that we all have these times where we're feeling sad and tired and exhausted.
So, therefore, try and maybe do a few of the things that I've suggested and just see if any of that helps. And also know that you can always contact me if you want more information or if you want to talk something else through, I am here. I am here for you. 2022, like always, is about making connections and building a community and just ensuring that we're all here to help each other. I don't want you to feel like you're alone. So if needed, definitely contact me. And if you like the information that I'm providing, then get on my email list. You can hear from me via the podcast, but I also share other tips in my newsletter. And you'll be the first to hear about anything that's happening for 2022 in the Eleshia World, in my world. So I will leave the link in the show notes. And I can't wait to speak to you really, really soon. Take care. And remember, you are amazing, and I am here. Buh-bye.
I really hope you enjoyed this episode of The Eleshia Show. If you loved this episode as much as I did, head over and rate and subscribe so you'll never miss an episode. New episodes drop every week on a Wednesday. I can't wait to hang out with you again soon. And lastly, remember to invest in yourself first because you are important and amazing. Take care. Until next time. Bye-bye.