Sunday, 3 January 2021

Christmas in London & ways I cope with SAD


Happy New Year everyone! Before I post my second ballerina themed post I thought I'd make the most of our London content and show you the glitziest displays we were lucky enough to catch in early December! Isn't this house the dreamiest Christmas sight? I can't get over the rainbow coloured baubles! I wanted to combine the sparkly pictures with a more serious discussion about my struggles with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and 5 ways I cope with the festive season and seasonal depression during the winter months. 
I don't pressure myself 
Putting your mental health first is always essential but especially vital when it comes to the festive season if you struggle. For so many years I tried to make everyone else happy and forced myself to go to gatherings that I just couldn't face. Pressure is rife during Christmas to do this, do that, go here, go there. No more of that these days, if I don't want to do something I won't, end of. There's nothing worse than having to fake a smile and pretend you're okay when it comes to socialising, or more likely right now, something like Skype. I start feeling low once October arrives and only start feeling an improvement to my wellbeing and general health when April is in sight. It's important to make sure you're creating a safe space emotionally and mentally for yourself, to get through the season best for you. 
I cope with the season on my terms
Going away for Christmas for a couple of days always uplifts my spirits so much and gives me such a boost mentally. I broke down when it was announced our area was essentially on lockdown for Christmas meaning our plans were ruined. For months our mini getaway had been the only thing keeping me going and it felt like the final straw. There was nothing to be done, so we tried to make Christmas as bearable as possible, and did manage to enjoy it more than anticipated. I've managed to get into the spirit of Christmas a little more these past few years, and creating seasonal content has made the festive season easier to embrace. 2020 has felt claustrophobic for me and my mental health, winter even more of a challenge with the added pressures of lockdowns combined with SAD. Sometimes I've wondered how much more I can take, but if last year taught us anything it's that we have to try and make things as bright as possible for ourselves, on our own terms. 
Remember the season will pass 
Winter can seem to drag on for an eternity which can be tough when you suffer with SAD. I try and focus on getting past Christmas and New Year, then powering through January and February before looking forward to the arrival of March which at least means Spring is beginning to bloom. Lighter evenings and fresh flowers, candy floss skies and the clock surging forward. Being able to sit out in the garden with a cup of tea and read, the promise of Easter, summer clothes or booking that much-needed getaway; future hopes in the form of something happy to look forward to can change mindset and mood so much. I remind myself that even though the season is a struggle to get through, the next will arrive before long. 
Focus on what I CAN control 
2020 was the biggest challenge for me mentally; I hate not being able to plan things for definite and get incredibly suffocated and panicky when things are out of my control. I had to learn to readjust my focus from everything spiralling out of control to the lack of things I had within my power to change. 2020 has taken its toll, every single time things seemed to take a step forward into normality, things would spiral downwards. It's been incredibly stop-start mentally and has been a challenge. For the most part I've thrown myself into coming up with future ideas and themes for my blog, setting in motion my ballerina theme (one that we had to keep putting back but luckily managed to shoot before Tier 4!) and keeping my dreams and goals close, working harder than ever to not only push myself forward in life but use ambition as a tool to take my mind off all the chaos unfolding. Instead of "I can't do what I want, I'm trapped", I shifted to: "I'm going to use this to my advantage and work on everything within my power." Likewise with my Seasonal Affective Disorder I've no control over how it makes me feel but within me I can improve my reactions by finding coping mechanisms. 
You're not alone 
Lastly, and most importantly, please remember you're not alone. Winter can feel so isolating. The "most wonderful time of year" for many can also be the loneliest for others. Online connections and friendships have taught me so many of us can relate in more ways than I could have previously imagined. Please reach out to someone you trust if you're suffering. Last year has been incredibly tough on us all and it's important to keep reminding yourself how loved and valued you are by so many, even if it doesn't always feel that way on darker days. 

Wishing everyone a really magical 2021 & sending you all lots of love! 

🎉

10 comments:

  1. Gorgeous photos & very wise & helpful words, Sophie - great post!����

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  2. Great photos! Wish you all the Best ❤️

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  3. I also tend to get quite depressed during the Christmas season, but looking at all the gorgeous photos above is lifting my mood quite a bit!
    The Christmas decor in all of the locations looks pretty and cheery - and all of them look much more beautiful with you standing in front of them!!!!!!
    I love the flare, bows and colour of that pretty flared double breasted coat,
    and I also love the appearance of your pretty mint green hair and how it complements the deep pink white-trimmed tiered ruffled embroidered dress and your pink knit hat.
    Looking at and reading your posts always helps to lift my spirits.
    Both wishing you a very magical 2021 and sending you lots of love as well.
    xx <3 :-)

    my blog (new post)
    my YouTube
    my Twitter

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  4. I'm really really impressed with your hair color, outfit, your helpful sharing,...everything in this post! Thank you so much for such a great post! Happy 2021!

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  5. Wow All backgrounds are in so much harmony with all your outfits and themes. So true darling, health always should come first over the years I learnt that I should be heard, and I stop or did less socializing as for me it is not the festive season is the socializing with people I was forced to socialize friends that were not my friend That was hard because I knoew the gossiping tbehind my back however I am now single and I don's have to do anything I do not want to do makes my mental health so much better and I am so much happier Maybe t is time to meet someone but with caution So I understand putting mental health first so important So glad to hear that creating content made things a lot easier for you I do exactly the same I used to feel sad now I take my time to do things i love and fill all my time going towards my goals. Made life so much happier. Your copinmg strategies are great keep focusing on the best aspects and looking forward to the future doing things you love. So important darling. I am so happy you developed a positive attitude I do exactly the same in fact i took the whole Covid situation to my advantage and worked a lot and set up several sites and even bought my online shop So glad to hear you are doing the same going after your goals and what makes you happy Wishing you a wonderful New Year full of love and magical days Happiness health peace and success Much love Cris

    http://www.photosbycris.com.au/?p=11437

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  6. What fun outfits and beautiful displays! There weren't a lot of displays like that here, it was a shame there weren't as many Christmas lights and things around as there used to be over Christmas but everyone was playing it safe with the virus situation really! There is an "enchanted garden" where they light it up over Christmas but when we went the previous year it was busy and crowded so we weren't sure even with tickets being managed what it would be like so we skipped it this year.

    It's good you've found a way to get through the difficult seasons and I hope they get easier to deal with things in the next few months. Christmas is such a fun and happy time I can't imagine how much pressure you'd feel when you don't enjoy it!


    Hope that you had a great weekend :) We managed to spend a lot of time outdoors which was fun :)

    Away From Blue

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  7. Hi Sophie,

    Hope this message finds you well during these weird and often difficult pandemic times. Happy to hear that you're finding ways of dealing with SAD that are productive and help you cope with it all. I also find that creativity has been a blessing for my anxiety as well. It's so exciting to get out and focus on something fun instead of being in my head worried all day.

    I have been off from blogging for practically the whole year. (By the way I'm pretending that we are in a little coffee shop just having the best girl time as I write.) I miss my old only blogging days, life has taken my creativity into more of the content creation side of things these past few years. I want to do so much more with my blog, and will try to balance it all a bit better as the year goes by.

    I'm happy I got this bit of time to stop by to see your beautiful blog. You are always a pleasure Sophie, your heart of gold shines through the screen. Hope 2021 will be so much brighter for you! Sending you so much love.

    xo,
    Tania
    https://inspiremyfancy.com/

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  8. Oh very cute photos, my best wishes to you
    xx

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