During the holidays and winter months, so many of us feel the darkness of grief and depression. I can vouch for myself, family, friends, and students that are close and dear to me that self-advocacy and servant leadership is the last thing on our minds. But in all actuality, these two qualities can assist you when you feel empty, fragile, burnt-out, and alone.
Self-advocacy means that you are able to articulate to others (verbally or nonverbal) what you will or will not do in order to improve your sense of mental stability, stress, and personal growth. You set personal boundaries and space that is necessary to keep your mind, body, and spirit free from unwelcoming disappointments and sadness. You allow yourself to try new things that bring YOU happiness and peace of mind or delete stressful and unwanted chaos from your space. It’s okay to decide for yourself what you need to experience in order to support personal changes you need in your life.
Within this past year, I decided that if I don’t want to do something; I just won’t. Simple right. I also decided if I want to change my mind about going out with my girls for happy hour; I will. Sometimes I want to just lay under my covers and read a nice book or watch my favorite crime stories on the ID channel. Nothing is wrong with wanting to feel good in your space and time. I do not bring work home anymore like I used to because it increased my stress and depression level. I don’t want to watch the news every day because the negativity associated with this time of year triggers more sadness and grief. You see, these are my personal self-advocacy techniques I put in place for myself to minimize unnecessary and unwarranted stress. I use my sick days for mental health breaks. I can’t take my days with me when I die; so why hold on to over 100 days that won’t be worth the actual amount? Hell, I do this all year round who am I kidding.🤣🤣😂😂
One thing I always enjoy participating in is servant leadership. It’s not what it actually sounds like. Servant leadership is balancing your leadership and servant skills. It cultivates your character and personality. It brings a sense of pride and peace to your soul. A servant leader creates a culture amongst others that generates the gift of trust, giving, and encouragement. When you are a servant, you give to others selflessly without the expectation of anything in return. You’re that listening ear or that advice someone needed. You are that consistent smile that encourages others to feel comfortable sharing that secret recipe that Grandma Mae used to make that special cornbread.
The most comforting thing I love to do to show people I love, appreciate, and care about them is cooking!!! You can ask anyone who knows me, and they will tell you I love to fix your ass a plate!! Because I have a terrible habit of cooking as if I’m serving an army; I love to give food to co-workers, students, neighbors, and the homeless. I will not throw it away!!! I love to be surrounded sometimes by people with happy spirits. I enjoy telling dirty jokes and making people laugh. I also love to be that trusting person that you will always know your secret is safe with me without any judgment. Sometimes I may contradict my self-advocacy decision to stay inside or go with my girlfriend who is suffering from personal trials and tribulation. This act of sisterhood turns into a bonding that both of us needed to cope with our grief and/or depression. This is what I need to soothe my soul.
We all in due time (if not already) will suffer unbearable grief/depression; therefore you must be prepared to take the necessary steps needed to survive. Here are just a few tips you can do to ease the pain:
- Always act with humility. Humble yourself so others won’t be afraid to be there for you. Don’t be ashamed if you need to be surrounded by family and friends. Don’t block your blessings by turning down those who want to be there because of your pride.
- Set boundaries. I cannot stress this enough. If there is too much on your plate that can send you over the edge; DON’T DO IT!!! Do not feel obligated to make someone else happy other than YOU.
- Balance your time. If there are days you need to be alone, do so. Your friends will understand. If you need to be productive and want to let your hair down DO IT!!! Don’t you dare worry about what people will say!! Shake a tail feather!!!
- Definitely, take time off for yourself!!! If that means calling out or using a sick day DO IT!!! Enjoy a massage, facial, or manicure and pedicure. Hell if you just want to sleep in without the kids home do it!!! Take that reprimand from your boss and rip it up!!! 😂😂🤣🤣
- Lastly, talk to someone. Counseling is a great option because you can be 1000% honest and open to a stranger that really may not see you out in public ever again.🤣🤣😂😂 You can cry, laugh, scream, and complain; but no one will judge you. I have great friends who I am all of the above and they don’t mind me one bit. I also have a great counselor too!!!
Here’s to the winter blues.