The colder months of fall and winter can be hard for many people, especially those who suffer from seasonal depression. Seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a form of depression that affects millions of people around the world. It is typically associated with winter months but can present itself at any time of year.
Symptoms may include low energy, difficulty concentrating, social withdrawal, and feelings of sadness or hopelessness. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to combat seasonal depression and start feeling better.
Creating a daily routine and sticking to it can help reduce feelings of sadness or gloominess that may come with seasonal depression. Having a set schedule helps to provide structure and organization in your life, allowing you to focus on tasks that need to be done rather than ruminating on negative thoughts.
Aim to create a routine that includes activities such as exercise, healthy eating, socializing with friends or family, mindfulness practices such as meditation, hobbies like music or art, or anything else that brings you joy.
Getting outdoors regularly is another great way to beat seasonal depression. Spending time outside not only boosts your mood but also helps you get more Vitamin D which helps regulate serotonin levels in your brain (a hormone that helps control your mood). Although it may be tempting to stay cooped up indoors during the colder months, getting some fresh air into your lungs can do wonders for your mental health.
Take advantage of any sunny days—even if it’s cold outside—and take a walk around your neighborhood or spend some time at your local park or garden, or try taking walks outdoors on sunny days or just sit outside and take in the fresh air for a few minutes each day
Exercise has been shown to be an effective way to reduce symptoms of depression. Regular physical activity releases endorphins which boost energy levels and moods. Even in the colder weather months, staying active can help keep seasonal depression at bay. Consider taking a walk every day or even signing up for an indoor exercise class such as yoga or dance.
Light therapy is one of the most effective treatments for seasonal depression. Using a light box at home or at work can help simulate natural sunlight when exposure to real sunlight may not be possible due to shorter days and longer nights in the fall and winter months.
Light boxes emit a bright white light that mimics natural daylight without UV rays which helps improve mood and reduce symptoms associated with SAD (seasonal affective disorder). It’s recommended that light therapy sessions should last 30 minutes per day for maximum benefits.
Social connection is essential for our mental health, especially when dealing with seasonal depression. Make an effort to reach out to friends and family regularly via phone calls, texts, emails, or video chats if you can’t see them in person due to social distancing measures or travel restrictions due to COVID-19.
If you don’t have anyone close by that you can connect with then join online support groups or seek professional counseling from a therapist who specializes in depressive disorders – there are many options available these days!
Seasonal depression doesn’t have to rule your life this winter! By developing a routine, engaging in light therapy sessions at home or work, and getting outdoors regularly when possible, you can manage your seasonal depression effectively so you can enjoy the colder months with greater ease.
If you feel like you need additional support this season doesn’t hesitate to reach out to professional help from a qualified mental health professional who can provide more tailored advice specific to your individual needs. Now get out there and beat those winter blues!