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Navigating the Winter Blues/Seasonal Depression: A Compassionate Approach to Mental Health and Goal Setting

As winter wraps its icy embrace around us, it often brings with it the challenging companion of seasonal depression. The gray skies and shorter days can cast a shadow on our mental well-being, making it crucial to approach this season with mindfulness and self-compassion.

Combatting seasonal depression begins with acknowledging its presence. Embrace self-care rituals that bring warmth to your soul—whether it's basking in the glow of candlelight, taking soothing baths, writing or immersing yourself in uplifting literature. Small acts of

self-love can be potent tools against the winter blues. Our relationships with ourselves and the world form the tapestry of our existence. Nurture self-compassion, practice gratitude, and build connections that bring joy.

Quote Interpretation
Maya Angelou

In the words of the legend, our good sis Maya Angelou, 'My mission in life is not merely to survive but to thrive.' A quote that encapsulates a profound philosophy that goes beyond mere existence. In this statement, Angelou emphasizes that life is not just about enduring challenges or navigating through difficulties; it’s about actively seeking growth, fulfillment, and a meaningful existence. The word “survive” implies the basic act of staying alive, often associated with overcoming hardships and adversities. However, Angelou elevates this notion by introducing the concept of “thrive.” To thrive is to flourish, to prosper, and to live a life rich in experiences, learning, and personal development. I interpret it as Ms. Angelou encouraging us to move beyond a mindset focused solely on getting by and to embrace a more expansive vision for our lives. Thriving involves actively pursuing our passions, cultivating resilience, and finding joy in the journey. It speaks to the idea that life’s purpose extends beyond mere survival instincts; it encompasses the pursuit of self-discovery, personal growth, and contributing positively to the world. In essence, Maya Angelou’s words inspire us to not settle for a passive existence but to engage with life wholeheartedly, embracing challenges as opportunities for growth, and striving to create a life that resonates with purpose and fulfillment.

This brings me to our vision board goals chile ! We are all guilty of naming goals for the year, sometimes reaching for the stars before figuring out simply how to touch the sky. Am I even at capacity right now ? How is my mental health and is it impacting my work ethic ? Do I need to love on myself more ? Am I focusing solely on manifesting the life I want and not how I want to feel ? Reassessing goals becomes particularly important in the face of seasonal challenges. Instead of succumbing to the pressure of rigid checklists, consider the power of flexibility. Life doesn't always adhere to our plans, and that's perfectly okay. God has her own plans. Give yourself permission to pivot, recalibrate, and celebrate the progress you've made, no matter how small. As you reassess goals, consider reframing them with a lens of self-compassion. Focus on the journey rather than fixating solely on the destination. Break down larger goals into manageable steps, allowing for a sense of accomplishment along the way. Embrace the ebb and flow of life, understanding that it's okay to take a step back, breathe, and move at your own pace.

Sometimes, the most beautiful moments happen when you let go of rigid expectations and allow yourself to flow with the rhythm of life.

When it comes to combating seasonal depression, connection is key. Reach out to friends and loved ones, share your feelings, and create a support network. Sometimes, the simple act of talking openly about your struggles can alleviate the weight on your shoulders. Remember, you are not alone in facing these challenges. Seek professional support if needed, and prioritize activities that bring joy and fulfillment. In the wise words of James Baldwin, 'Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.' As we know, life be life-ing !

So for this winter's chill, let self-compassion be your guiding light. By approaching seasonal depression with gentleness and adjusting your goals with flexibility, you can navigate this season with resilience and an unwavering commitment to your mental well-being. It's the inaugural chapter of the new year, a time to reflect on the tapestry of experiences woven in its transient days. As we stand at the edge of 11 months until the new year, let’s set the tone for the remainder of the year. Think about the emotions you want to cultivate, and how can you contribute positively to your well-being and the world around you. Amidst global challenges, take a moment to ground yourself. Engage in activities that bring you peace, and be conscious of your mental well-being.

In the grand narrative of life, we are the authors of our stories. Embrace the power to shape your journey, infusing it with purpose, passion, and a commitment to your well-being. As Audre Lorde beautifully put it, 'Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.'

Remember, the journey matters as much as the destination.

Let the end of January be a crossroads, a moment to reflect and set intentions for the path ahead. May the coming months be filled with growth, joy, and a deep connection with both ourselves and the world.

XoXo, Leonora M.


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