Beating those Wintertime Blues

As my clients have shared, sometimes you get hit with the BIG SAD. the wintertime blues are a real deal. But, fret not! We’re thrilled to introduce our amazing intern, Abby, who will be steering the blog for January and February! Let’s give her a warm welcome and check out her crucial insights from a teen girl’s perspective.

As a teenage girl, I’ve realized it’s a lot easier said than done to come to terms with how I feel. I swear I have gone from peaceful and content to anxious and uncomfortable in the span of one minute without knowing why. I’ve felt like I’ve experienced a million emotions all at once for reasons that, in hindsight, were small. Yet, as I started focusing on these feelings of uncertainty, self-doubt, and vulnerability, I knew I lacked the knowledge to navigate through all these harsh feelings. Handling the acceptance of being inexplicably sad can feel like a chore because you can’t pinpoint a specific way to try and rebound from the feeling altogether. This can leave anyone stuck in a state of shame and emotional defeat. 

To admit you’re sad is difficult to say out loud because there is no easy way to reassure yourself that your feelings are valid. The current tendency to easily overlook sadness can make this daunting task, even scarier. This makes the words, “just sad”, misconstrued, potentially taken as a joke, or dismissed altogether as a teenage girl being emotionally fragile. If you are told to, “get over it”, because something must have made you sad, it can further complicate the process of understanding. All of this is unfair when you are trying to figure out how to understand where your emotions are coming from. So, this leaves a common experience, especially in teenage girls, denied or downplayed by the people around you. 

Realizing you are sad is one struggle and dealing with the opinions of others is a whole other battle. Without trying to worry anyone, you have to navigate through feelings of anxiety, loneliness, stress, panic, and more to hopefully be taken seriously about how you feel. What I’ve done to help ease my thoughts and take my mind off of that nagging feeling are pretty simple, but I honestly realized a huge difference from how I used to feel to how I feel right now. Here’s some short tips that I have learned and discussed here at Austin Therapy for Girls to get through the “Big Sad” 

  1. Distractions – Reading has been a huge help in easing my overthinking and anxiety. It takes my mind off of stressful events, like figuring out where I want to go to college or any personal issues I may have. Not only does reading keep me off my phone for hours, but any lingering thoughts of anxiety and stress are not nearly as present anymore. Reading or any other distraction you pursue can easily help you alleviate harsh emotions within a couple hours. Plus, the effects of being distracted by something you love can help ease any lingering sadness or stress for days to come. 
  2. Limit social media apps – Social media, I would say, is the main cause of my overthinking whether I’m aware of it or not. As most teenage girls experience, scrolling through instagram and seeing girls your age look completely different from how you look, can be a huge hit to your confidence if you don’t like what you see. Scrolling on instagram and seeing pictures of your friends together without you, can also have a heavy impact on your confidence and happiness. When I saw myself genuinely become sad or overwhelmed by those pictures, I wanted to take a step back for myself and become in control of how I felt.  You know that every phone has a sneaky little trick to cut down on app time? Sure, it sounds tough, but taking a breather from social media could be the key to feeling back to your fabulous self. 
  3. Talk to a therapist – Everyone’s experience through dealing with their emotions is always different. Talking through your issues can be genuinely terrifying and it wasn’t something I wanted to do at first whatsoever. Yet as I got older, I struggled with the notion that whatever got under my skin would always be significant. My therapist helped me realize that if I feel a certain way about something, then it is worth talking about and processing no matter how small the issue is. Don’t wait for a mental health emergency to knock on your door before reaching out to a therapist. Having a cozy space to spill your guts can work wonders for your wellbeing.
  4. Connection – Surrounding yourself with friends and family who can always tell when something is wrong can be a lifeline on challenging days. Whether you talk through what’s bothering you, watch your favorite movies together, or just sit in silence, having that support can always be a breath of fresh air. Having a strong sense of love and trust with who I speak to everyday has always helped in lifting my spirits and allowed me to try for a better day tomorrow. 
  5. Boundaries  – Allow yourself to be sad. In order to process the feeling, you have to know it’s there and accept it. To shy away from sadness in fear of what others may think will not be helpful in the long run. Sadness is not weakness, it is a bump in the road that is inevitable in a teenage girl’s reality. Sometimes saying no to things can be a way to protect your peace. Girl dinner and movie anyone?

Sadness – it’s a simple emotion that starts your long journey through some complicated feelings. As a teenage girl, sadness has no boundaries of when or why it can be felt. Luckily, that also means there is no boundary on how you choose to deal with it. You and I will experience every emotion under the sun and despite our efforts, we still won’t feel like we cracked the code. Yet, recognizing how you feel and embracing it can make you one step closer to your inner peace.  

May these tips guide you as we all venture into the unknowns of 2024. And don’t forget, sadness is not the villain here. We can learn to ride the waves of emotions like seasoned surfers.

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