Posted in Anxiety

5 Ways to Steer Clear of Seasonal Affective Disorder

“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

Prof. Albus Dumbledore – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

It’s officially the start of Fall and I am starting to feel the effects of my seasonal depression. For me, it starts in the mornings when my drive to work begins in darkness and occasionally allows be to see the sunrise. When the season changes, many people start to experience effects on their mood due less sunlight and more grey days. If you’re also in a climate that gets colder over the Fall and then gets major snowfall during the Winter months, your chances of being affected is further increased.

Although the true cause of seasonal depression has not yet been pinpointed, there are positive results from light therapy and a few adjustments to your daily routine. I’ve listed below some tips to lift you up and keep up those positive feelings.

Talk It Up

Stay in touch with your tribe.  Call your loved ones and talk to the people you care about the most.  Tell them how you are feeling and what you need as support.

Get Up and Go

Start being more active through daily outdoor exercises like walking, running, skiing or other winter activities.  If your not the outdoorsy type, then aim for a class at the local gym or check out yoga or swimming options in your area. Studies have shown that exercise has a positive effect on mood.

Face Your Fears

Whatever brings on your low mood, it’s important to address it instead of running away from the feelings which will just lower your mood even more. Facing something difficult will boost your self confidence, and enable you to take control of your moods.  Battling depression is a daily fight (and it is in no way easy) but you are the boss of your emotions – I know that taking small steps can lead to big gains.

Control Your Diet

One of my symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is that I have no appetite whatsoever.  It’s normal to feel no desire to eat when you struggle with depression. The key is to choose healthy snacks, like fruits and vegetables, eat in small amounts, several times a day and find healthy versions of your favourite comfort foods. What works for me is also to prepare meals in advance, stocking up my freezer with proteins and veggies, and have healthy snack foods in the fridge.

Routine is Key

Your body needs a regular schedule of sleep, wake/sleep times, and meal times. Sticking to a regular schedule has been shown to decrease stress levels and low moods.  If you divert from your routine, you may notice increased levels of sadness and a short fuse in everyday situations.

Share in the comments and support others in finding a routine that works for them!

These tips may not work for everyone so please reach out to a professional if you can’t handle things on our own.  Sometimes the right medication and a plan of attack for your mental health struggles will help battle the depression to provide you with a sense of normalcy all year long. Whatever your personal situation, remember that there are people available to support your through this difficult time.

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha

Posted in Anxiety, Meditation, Mental Health

9 Ways to Attack Anxiety and Panic!

Panic causes tunnel vision. Calm acceptance of danger allows us to more easily assess the situation and see the options.

Simon Sinek

Everybody experiences anxiety from time to time in their life. You can’t always just breathe through an anxiety attack either. Anxiety attacks affect people in different ways. Some people have trouble breathing, their heart races, they get flushed skin and even chest pain. If you have frequent anxiety attacks, try these self-help tips for dealing with them.

You’ve got this!

Exaggerate Your Biggest Fear

Talk to a friend about your biggest fear, whether it be giving a presentation to your class or riding a roller coaster. Make it as dramatic as possible with lots of descriptive words and plenty of your raw emotions. Then when it comes time for you to do that thing that scares you, it won’t be as horrifying because you’ve already ruled out all the possible horrible things that can happen to you. After talking to your friend about this a couple of times, your stories and exaggerations will start to become very silly and something you can laugh about together.

Distract Yourself

In your scary situation, just don’t think about where you are or what you’re doing. It seems easier said than done, but with practice, it’ll almost be like you aren’t even in the situation that causes your anxiety.

Work It Out

Stress and anxiety both release the same hormone: adrenaline. When you exercise, you are releasing this hormone, making your anxiety levels go down.

Drink Responsibly

Do not consume too much caffeine or alcohol. Both are stimulants and will only make your anxiety worse. Instead, turn to drinks like milk and water. Some general foods that are good to bring down your anxiety levels include nuts, berries, yogurts, legumes, and dark orange vegetables.

Say, Om

Meditation can help calm you down and simply focus on your breathing; nothing else. Tune out everything going on around you and count each breath you take.

Break It Down

Break down the days into minutes. Instead of stressing yourself out about what you’re going to do in the next three hours, focus on the seconds and minutes you are living in right now. This will help to eliminate some worries and anxiety you may have for a certain part of your day.

Anchors Away

Use visual anchors. If you feel yourself getting anxious, find something that brings a sense of calm to you and just focus on it. For example, if you find yourself stuck in traffic, you can look up at the clouds to help you feel calm.

Use The Echo

Repeat a basic mantra, such as “I am strong”. Simply repeat it over and over in your head or using a comforting phrase can bring you calmness and peace. A sample could also be, “I am enough” or “I can do this.” Building yourself up is often a technique people use to relieve some of their anxiety.

Personal Love Letter

Write a love letter to yourself. This is just like what you’d do if you were repeating a mantra. Write down on a piece of paper all of the things you love about yourself. Then when you’re having an anxiety attack, read the letter. This, once again, will help relieve some anxiety.

You are not alone…

Rember that you are not alone in this world. Millions of people suffer from anxiety thorughout their lives. These tips given may not all work for you and that’s okay. There are other tips out there for you to try, as well as doctors and other professionals that specialize in anxiety and will be there for you to talk to anytime.

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha

Posted in Anxiety, Mental Health, Self Care

The Signs I Ignored

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”

Marilyn Monroe

Hi Moms are always tired…right? I became a mom before I turned 20 and by 40 I had 4 kids with a grandbaby on the way. Many of my symptoms I attributed to motherhood, being a wife and working full time. I also have 2 types of anemia so I figured it must be a result of that, or stress from going through my divorce in my early twenties and subsequent custody battle that was on/off for years. I made excuse after excuse instead of paying attention to what had been building over all this time.

Flag 1 – Why can’t I stay asleep?

The insomnia started in my twenties, the baby was sleeping in way past my wake up time.  I would take advantage of the fact that I was an earlier bird to drink my coffee in the morning quiet, read magazines or start to tackle my to-do list for the day.  I never complained about the fact that I was getting fewer and fewer hours of sleep as the years went by. I could fall asleep with no problems (probably because I was so exhausted from my day) however I was starting to wake up between 3:00 am and 5:00 am more consistently.

Flag 2 – Why do I wake up with a headache?

The next flag should have been the headaches….I would wake up in the morning and my head would be throbbing, a dull ache in the base of my skull or in between my eyes.  I must be dehydrated, need my caffeine fix, slept wrong or maybe a migraine would be on the horizon due to the barometric pressure. Sometimes it would pass after a few hours but the frequency was definitely increasing.

Flag 3 – Why can’t I remember anything?

I know that stress, lack of sleep and poor eating habits can lead to memory issues but I have also have pernicious anemia which causes brain fog if my vitamin B12 levels get too low.  I have monthly injections to maintain the proper level and grew accustomed to a few days of memory issues when I was due for a shot. What began to happen was that the fog never lifted.  I tried diet plans, increasing my B12 dose, sleeping pills and even sought help from my acupuncturist.

The Verdict 

The truth of what was happening didn’t come together for me until 2019.  I was diagnosed with seasonal depression and started daily light therapy with a Happy Light.  My brain was loving it and so was I because after each light session I would feel more awake and energized.  I was able to concentrate for longer periods of time, my memory has improved and I was sleeping 6 hours straight at night.  I was relieved that I didn’t need to take medication but then the New Year hit….

In the first 3 months of 2019, I had several family members that had health crises which lead me to have an overload of stress and put my anxiety into high gear. I was worried about everyone and everything – ALL THE TIME. I was terrified of what could happen next. My positive personality was sliding into darkness and all my usual tools were failing me.

For weeks the insomnia escalated until I did not sleep for more than 2 hours straight for weeks.  I was lucky if I slept for a total of 3-4 hours a night. I began to get the shakes, tremor in my hands and was experiencing panic attacks on a daily basis. All I wanted to do was stay in bed and hide from the world.  I would struggle through the day, try to put on a smile and be there for my family.

When I sought out professional help the message was clear: Stop, Sleep, Eat, Fill your cup.  I had to hear the words Adjustment Disorder, Anxiety Disorder and Depression from my Doctor. It wasn’t an easy moment to absorb.  I needed some medicine to help balance out my serotonin – after a few weeks and playing with the timing of the dose – I started to feel like me again. 

This blog is part of my therapy, I do it to stay accountable and to help others who struggle with Mental Illness. I am here to bring awareness on mental health topics and to share what I’m learning in relation to self care.


If you have at least four of these symptoms on a pretty much  daily basis for more than a month, please talk to someone you trust and seek medical intervention. 

  • Depressed or irritable mood most of the day, nearly every day or people asking if you are OK.
  • Decreased interest or pleasure in activities always enjoyed
  • Increased headaches
  • Eating too much or too little (unintended weight gain or loss)
  • Change in sleep (more or less than usual)
  • Fatigue or low energy levels
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive worry or inappropriate guilt
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Keep in mind that besides headache, other body complaints you can experience with depression are:

  • Pain (neck, back, abdominal)
  • Joint aches and pains
  • Constipation/diarrhea
  • Overall body weakness

I want everyone to know that they are not alone and there is no shame in asking for help. I’d love to connect on social media and hear your story.  We can learn a lot from each other by sharing our experience and squashing the stigma that exists on mental health challenges.

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha


Posted in Anxiety, Mental Health, Self Care

Journaling is easy as 1, 2, 3!

“Journaling is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time.”

Mina Murray

Ready, Set – Journal!

So I started small.  I found a great lined notebook with a purple cover to capture my day, a blank notebook from the Dollar Store to doodle in when I was stressed or anxious.  I was lucky to find an app – in my first search – to track my symptoms and also another one to do my daily gratitude practice.

I was reluctant to start a journal when I experienced my anxiety and panic attacks.  I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to explore the triggers or assess how I was feeling both emotionally and physically.  The thought of reviewing those more difficult days wasn’t high up on my priority list. I focused on the positive side and tried different ways of capturing my thoughts, feelings, symptoms and accomplishments.

Here are my suggestions to start journaling on paper, electronically or even both!!  There are a few things to consider in order to make the habit stick:

  1. Get a notebook that you will want to write in.  It can be your favorite color, have an inspiring quote on the cover or is unlined so you have the option to add drawings instead of just words.
  2. When a quiet moment arises that you are alone, do a quick check in:
    • How are you feeling?  Happy? Sad? Anxious? Annoyed?
    • What happened during the day that brought forward these feelings?
    • Write down your thoughts on the cause and then take 3 deep breaths to let the feeling go.
    • Close the Journal and continue on with your day, try to let go of those emotions. Consider the feelings you jotted down and you can reflect what you wrote down at the end of the day. Only do this if you feel the need because the feelings are lingering.
  3. Did you know that multiple journals can also be very helpful?  Here are some addition journal types that could inspire you:
    • The PMS Journal: Track how your cycle affects your physical, emotional or mental health.
    • The Food Journal: Track you food choices, calories or even physical reactions to certain foods.  I used this type of journal during an elimination diet so that I could follow if my symptoms improved as I made different food choices in relation to dairy, wheat and eggs. This was a tremendous help for both my family doctor and allergist.
    • Gratitude Journal: This type of journal is fantastic for staying in a positive mindset and be thankful for the people that have an impact in your life. As I mentioned, I have been using the thankful app on my iPhone because it also allows me to include pictures in my entries. I am a visual person so the images trigger memories and evoke strong emotions.
    • Dream Tracker: Do you thrive off of looking into the meaning of your dreams?  Do you like interpreting the experiences and gain insight on your dream patterns.  A dream diary can definitely help you reflect and learn more about your personality.
    • Pregnancy Diary: As an adult, this was my first real attempt at journaling.  Tracking my pregnancy experiences was rewarding and has enabled me to compare each experience (I’ve had 4 pregnancies!!) to see how unique they all have been.  Another benefit is the ability to share this information with my children as they get older. In fact, my oldest daughter just had a baby and was so appreciative to be able to look at my pregnancy experience with her.
Doodle Art

Countless Benefits

There are plenty of reasons to keep an online journal or diary. The most rewarding can be in regards to your emotional health.

Mental health benefits from journaling:

  • Reduces overall stress
  • Increases happiness
  • Keeps you on track to achieve goals
  • Increases your emotional intelligence
  • Develops self-awareness
  • Improves memory
  • Allows you to emotionally heal from trauma
  • Boosts problem-solving skills
  • Gain clarity on confusing situations

I suggest that you have some kind of schedule in order to make journaling a habit and incorporate it into your lifestyle.   Journaling throughout the day helps me capture all the various emotions and experiences I encounter. I aim for upon waking up, mid day, while cooking dinner and before bed. Just a few minutes per day has improve my mindset, gratitude and appreciation for all people and things that contribute to my journey through life.

Do you Journal? How has it benefited you? I’d love for you to share YOUR experience with the Violet Buddha Tribe and help others incorporate journaling into their daily To Do list.

Hellow Sunshine Journal

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha

Posted in Anxiety

3 Ways to Quiet your Mind

“A quiet mind is able to hear intuition over fear.”

Yvan Byeajee
Find time to quiet your mind.

Nowadays, we are so overscheduled and our days are so packed full of activities that we barely have enough time to sleep. Consider yourself the exception and not the norm, if you have accomplished a sense of balance in this hectic society that we all share. For many reasons, we overextend, overachieve and overstress ourselves to the point of breaking. Taking on too much can not only hurt our body but also stresses the mind. 

I realized my mind was hurting in the Fall of 2018.  It started slowly, headaches and insomnia crept into my life, I had aches and pains in my neck and shoulders and I was super jumpy.  I would overreact to regular everyday noises – the phone ringing, a door squeaking, even someone clapping their hands or laughing – would send me into a fight or flight response. I was overtired, unable to focus and my memory was failing.  For several weeks I made excuses for what was happening, I thought that if I could just get a good night’s sleep or make it to the weekend, my symptoms would disappear. It didn’t happen of course and what started out as seasonal depression evolved into a serious anxiety disorder that I could no longer deny.

I’m sharing these simple changes that can really have a positive impact on your mind and reducing the stress you encounter on a daily basis.

Its up to you!

Practicing Gratitude

It’s so easy to get frustrated when things don’t go your way. From the moment we spill our coffee, lock the keys in the car, and forget our lunch on the kitchen counter, a spiral of negativity results in a downward tailspin. However, we have the choice to stay in a state of discontent and let that dictate the rest of our day, or we can be grateful for the other things in our lives that have gone as planned.

Have you ever noticed that when something great happens, we tend to smile briefly and then move onto the next moment like nothing happened?  However, when something goes wrong, we feel the need to tell everyone and anyone that will listen how bad things are. It’s in those exact moments of unhappiness that we need to focus on what we are grateful for, and it is then and only then that we will pull ourselves out of the negative zone. 

Staying focused on gratitude offers your mind something to smile about, regardless of what’s happening around you. Focusing on people, places, and even things that make you grateful, enables your mind the break it needs from stressors to stay active and healthy.

Nothing is a Choice

Everyone has a busy schedule; that is a known fact. We all have created our schedules to overflow and then complain that we do not have time for ourselves to rest, recharge and reflect on the day. Take a good look at your day or week so you can see what you can remove and what you can delegate to someone else. If you are going to have a healthy mind, you need to take care of it just like you care for your body. You need your mond, body and spirit to align in order to live your best life.

The best tip I can give you for quieting your mind is prioritize self care in schedule. Put it in big red pen on your calendar, text yourself a reminder, and place it on your list of things to do during the week. Make time for family and friends, a visit to the spa for a mani/pedi or massage and partake in activities you enjoy.  Take some deep breaths, find a calm place to meditate and be thankful for the blessings that occur all around you throughout the day.

Taking One Minute

Being in the moment has become a cliché; but if you really take the time and trouble to learn what that truly means for you, then you will learn how to quiet your mind in no time at all. Focus on what you are doing at the exact moment you are doing it. 

In this way, you are focused on the moment at hand and not two days from now when something big might be happening. These are just three helpful tips for quieting your mind.

A great app to get you started is called One Moment Meditation.  You can download it from the Apple or Google Play

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha