February Reflections

Hello! This is JOYsister Heather here. A little bit of backstory before I reflect: I am a Southern California girl transplanted to Minnesota back in 1998. It took me a few years to figure out that the Winter Fog that I experienced every year from January until April had an actual name, was a real thing and that I was not in fact going crazy. Since "officially" being diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder, I have learned what works for me to live my best life and not just go into survival mode each winter. Putting those "tools" to use is another story. In the past I have tried anti-depressants, February vacations, tanning beds, Netflix binging, self-medicating (both food and shopping), mentally checking out and mostly, a combination of all of these things. Meds work for a lot of people, but for reasons that I won't go into here, I stopped all anti-depressant usage about 6 years ago. I don't regret that decision, however that last two Februaries were just about the worst ever for me. I knew that I needed change. 

Last month was probably my best February since moving to Minnesota. I am not medicated OR self-medicating. I have finally found the tools that work for ME!
{I am NOT saying that medication is NOT an effective tool. It absolutely works for some, I just really struggled with finding a good fit, getting on the correct dosage and finding a doctor that would actually listen to me. After doing A LOT of my own research, I took myself off of anti-depressants AMA, which I DO NOT recommend....BUT this is MY journey and every single person needs to absolutely do what works best for themselves and their family. Medication certainly played a part in my mental health & wellness journey and I do not regret using it or being off of it.} 
After many YEARS of attempts and failures, I have finally established the habit of early to bed (9:00 pm bedtime) and early to rise (up at 4:45am) along with daily habits of personal prayer, scripture study & scripture journaling, meditation, affirmation, visualization, writing, editing, taking pictures and posting daily (or near daily) on @thejoysisters and @heather_hh_hubert Instagram accounts and weekly posting on my @halloweenheather Instagram account. I also drink a ton of water and have a daily Good Girl Moonshine. I am having frequent phone meetings with JOYsister Christine to discuss JOYsisters stuff and I am getting outside of myself and connecting with others. I deleted all negative social media after Colin Kartchner called out Instashaming and intitiated #colincleanse in January. I am focusing and concentrating on lifting others up and cultivating a JOYsister heart! In February I attended my first ever Writer's Conference (it was FREE!), went to the Temple with Derek and spectated at 5-6 basketball games. I worked 7 Para substitute shifts and have gone to 5 PT appointments. I am leaving the house on a regular basis. That alone is to be celebrated!!! I listened to the podcast Happier with Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft while I cleaned and I  wore actual pants for more days than not in the month of February. It is a new record. My friend Michelle reminds me to "lock in the wins". This is a WIN! 
I am having weekly self-assessments to see what is working and where I can improve. I am working on remembering to take my daily dose of Vitamin D, use my "happy lamp" and run my diffuser. I have painted my toes, drank lots of hot lemon water with raw honey and turmeric and focused on hygge in our home. I have events planned for this month I feel peaceful, content and have had many more moments of JOY & happiness than any February in my memory....recent or otherwise. Especially since living in Minnesota. This is winning indeed!

Do you struggle during the winter months, or at any time of year? What works for you to be in a good place mentally, emotionally and spiritually?


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