Seasonal Depression | A Survival Guide

Friends, this is extensive. And rightly so, as election night and winter are at hand. Warm, lingering hugs + cuddles feel like they are needed more than ever, and yet the physical distance keeps us safe. Here are suggested resources and practices that I want to offer the community as a way to alleviate the winter melancholy.

IMPORTANT NOTE: These suggested resources are not a substitute for clinical support or mental health services in any way. Please seek professional help if it feels absolutely needed. Additionally, I intended to compile these suggestions while being mindful of dynamics around access and ability, and the various styles of learning. Please lean into the learning style and/or practice that are most accessible, helpful, and enlivening to you.

Find as much access to warmth & light

— candles

ideally, make use of the scents that remind you of a beautiful & safe memory or season in your life. other suggested scents that energize and uplift are lemon, cinnamon, lavender, rosemary, and vetiver.

— salt lamps & fire place

tea, hot chocolate, & coffee

on coffee: preferably warm and only if coffee doesn’t give you anxiety. try not to exceed 3 cups a day

epson salt baths & hot showers

at the end of taking hot showers, consider adjusting to the highest temperature you can handle, and then adjusting to the coldest you can handle.

— thinking about buying incense?

the key principle here is:

if your ancestors and racial heritage historically and traditionally did/do not do it, then you shouldn’t either.

smudging is a sacred tradition practiced by Indigenous communities for healing, clearing energetic fields, and spiritual blessing.

it is practiced with great care and reverence, and must never be taken lightly or commodified from a place of

consumption and appropriation.

if you are non-Indigenous, do not buy white sage.

if your ancestors practiced smudging incense, use the plant or wood your ancestors used if accessible. other alternatives are:

lavender, cedar, jasmine, myrrh, juniper, pine, & rosemary.

buy palo santo only from markets that clearly state that the wood was ethically crafted (meaning: the wood came from naturally fallen or dead trees) and when such markets directly support Indigenous communities or families and aim to protect Indigenous consciousness.

Nurture your relationship with Mother Earth & the Cosmos

— talking or singing to your plants

— mood elevating plant medicine & oils from apothecaries or herbal markets that are BIPOC-owned and thoughtful about producing and distributing products in ethical and anti-oppressive ways, such as Anima Mundi Herbals, Sacred Vibes Apothecary, Herbalaria. Do the research in learning about the founders and/or owners!

— nourishing your spiritual sense of self: prayer, paying homage, practicing gratitude, tarot cards, oracle decks, astrology, Human Design, dreamwork — getting to know yourself in light of the Cosmos and the highest good of all. be brave in choosing to be more and more aligned with your purpose & the things that light you up

— finding your spiritual kin — perhaps lean away from institutional or organizational white Christian contexts 😉 having a group of three kindred friends absolutely count here. pets included!

— being around the 4 elements of nature — cultivate a sense of belonging as a part of the larger ecosystem.

you are held in Mother Earth’s sacred and loving arms.

Prepare care packages or messages for your future self in the next winter months

— come up with letters or messages addressed to your future self in each coming winter month. they can be written, sketched, or audibly or visually recorded! and if you’d like, include non-perishable goods or little gifts. you can put them in boxes or paper bags.

try as best as you can not to open or unlock these messages or gifts until the month assigned to open them has arrived!

ALSO: time > money: you do not need a lot of money to put this together. you are far more creative and resourceful than you think. add childhood photographs, favorite poems/quotes, old cds, and endearing items that you know would improve your mood

if this feels too much to do, you may ask a person in your close social circle to send messages/letters to future self instead — may it be a friend, partner, therapist, social media friend, etc.

Be in your body

— singing, creativity, dancing, stretching.. invite more movement and rhythm in to your life!

having a physical container: wrapping a blanket around yourself, getting a weighted blanket, and if you are able: embracing self, caressing skin, playing with fidgety toys, holding your face (after thorough handwashing)

— schedule weekly/biweekly technology or social media breaks

— creating a playlist with songs that enliven you in all its major and minor chords

telling your body it is in the present moment: 4-7-8 breathing exercise, and if you are able: describing your surroundings to yourself or doing the 5 senses grounding exercise

choose mindfulness over mindlessness