I have had seasonal depression for many years. Despite the fact that it is recognized as a medical condition by the World Health Organization, many people do not understand it or even believe that it exists.
Even if you do, you might not know what to do in order to keep yourself from getting depressed.
Here are some of the things I have learned over the years that have helped me get through the winter and enjoy summer more.1. Get enough sleep – I was a night owl and loved staying up late and sleeping in, but gradually I have become an early bird and it is better for me. My husband likes going to bed late and getting up late, so we compromise at 10:00 p.m. and 7 a.m., both of us having had 8 hours’ sleep.2. Exercise – No pain, no gain applies here, as long as you don’t overdo it or injure yourself, which can also lead to seasonal depression because you won’t be doing any exercise! The main thing is to get your blood flowing; then follow your own advice about how much exercise is appropriate for you.3. Keep moving – In cold weather try to stay active throughout the day but don’t spend all day in one
Whether you’re a dog or a human, the winter blues can be hard to beat. If you’re feeling blue this winter, remember that you are not alone. Millions of people experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and there are ways to help yourself feel better.
Trying to change your situation is never the whole solution. The first thing to do is to accept that you have SAD and that it’s not your fault. Recognizing that it’s an issue can go a long way toward helping you deal with it.
The following tips should help you get through this season and other seasons when you’re feeling down without medication:
1. Eat healthy food: We know how tempting it is to reach for comfort foods when we’re feeling down, but they can make things worse in the long run. Eating well—including fruits, vegetables, and lean protein—is important for good health overall, and can help improve your mood as well.
2. Get sunlight: If you’re feeling depressed or lethargic during the winter months, try getting outside during daylight hours as much as possible. It may take some time for your body to adjust, but spending time in the sun has been shown to remedy SAD symptoms in some people.
The winter blues, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or the “winter blues,” is a type of depression that happens annually during the winter time.
Winter depression can be caused by many things, including:
-Lack of sunlight and vitamin D deficiency
-Less time spent with family and friends
-The stresses of holiday shopping and planning
-Exhaustion from cold weather and overindulgence in food and drink
2. Get enough sleep
3. Drink plenty of water
4. Eat a healthy diet
5. Wear sunscreen
6. Take a vitamin D supplement or use a tanning bed
7. Create an indoor garden using houseplants
8. Cook healthy foods at home
9. Use aromatherapy to help relax and unwind
10. Listen to upbeat music
There is an idea that depression is an indulgence, a sign of weakness—that it’s simply a matter of willpower. But that’s not the case. Depressed people are rarely lazy; they have to work harder than most to get through the day, and they tend to be more conscientious. If they have energy they don’t feel like doing anything with it.
There is a misconception that antidepressants are a quick fix—that if you take them you can go back to your usual activities as soon as you want. Antidepressants help some people, but for many others, including me, they don’t work at all. The reason I’m on medication is that it helps me manage my moods; I’m not on medication because I have no moods. When I’m depressed, I can’t imagine doing anything that doesn’t seem pointless or impossible.
When I hear someone say “If only she would try,” I think: Try what? Try doing what you and everyone else knows won’t work? Depression isn’t about laziness or lack of willpower or being spoiled and self-indulgent. It’s about being overwhelmed by darkness.
1. Get Light: Sunlight produces vitamin D, which helps regulate moods. More light also means less darkness, which can increase feelings of depression.
2. Listen to Music: A study from the University of Miami found that music may help spur the brain’s production of dopamine and serotonin, chemicals linked to pleasure and well-being.
3. Do Something New: If a routine is leaving you down, shake things up. Take up a new hobby or join an organization you’ve always wanted to be a part of.
4. Get Physically Active: Exercise provides mental as well as physical health benefits. It can also provide an energy boost that lasts for hours after your workout is complete.
5. Find Some Humor: Laughing triggers the release of endorphins, which can help ease pain and stress while boosting your overall sense of well-being.
6. Eat Healthy Foods: Overeating is one way to gain weight, but getting enough fruits and vegetables can help reduce symptoms of depression, too.*
7. Try Staying Away From Screens: Research has shown that spending too much time in front of TVs or computer screens can mean a person sleeps longer hours and has less energy during the day.*
8. Reach Out To