I have been coping with depression for as long as I can remember. The winter is always the most difficult time and there have been plenty of years that I found myself bedridden with depression for weeks. Over the years I have collected some tricks to make it through the winter. Here is my seasonal depression guide and I hope it helps you kick ass this winter.
Here are some of the symptoms of seasonal depression. Talking to a Doctor can be intimidating but if you have these symptoms you should talk to your Doctor. Symptoms are generally similar to symptoms of depression except that they happen during a certain season every year (usually fall and winter). Here are some symptoms:
Feeling depressed during a certain part of the year
Inability to focus
Feeling tired or fatigued
increased appetite or weight gain
Feeling antisocial or avoiding other people
Maximize Time In The Sun
SAD is shown to happen more in countries with less hours of sunlight. Try to maximize your time in the sun by getting up early and going outside. Try to take your lunch break outside and take frequent walks throughout the day. Don’t skimp on outdoor time even if it’s cloudy. You can still get the benefits from the sun even if it’s cloudy outside. Make sure you’re getting outside a little bit every afternoon. If you are prone to depression to not eat lunch at your desk in the winter. In the winter I take a full hour lunch break and go outside and walk around.
Now that I live in Florida I don’t do this anymore. However, when I lived near Seattle it was a real lifesaver. I got a lightbox and sat in front of it for 30 minutes after I woke up in the morning. I did this while meditating because I love self-care and multitasking. When you’re purchasing your lightbox look for one that is at least 10,000 lux and has a full spectrum of light. Light therapy has been as effective as anti-depressants for some people. If you’re struggling with seasonal depression I definitely recommend you try it out.
I’m a big advocate of therapy. If you think you are at risk of getting depressed this winter you should get your butt to a therapist. I use BetterHelp and talk to my therapist every week on the phone. Anytime I feel like my depression might get worse I book some extra sessions with my therapist (BetterHelp is an unlimited therapy service).
Get freaking moving ASAP. As soon as I notice myself getting depressed I start going to the gym every day. If you wait until you’re more depressed it is going to be really freaking hard to get yourself to workout. Add exercise to part of your regular weekly schedule and when you’re feeling stressed or starting to feel depressed add some extra workouts to your schedule. Since I am prone to depression in the winter I add extra workouts to my regular routine during the winter. If you have the gym that’s fine but you need to find something you like to do. Commit to trying different classes and sports until you find something you like to do.
I love staying home in the winter. I HATE the cold. It’s so easy to stay home where it’s nice and warm. Before I know it I’ve spent night after night on the couch with my dog and I haven’t seen my friends in weeks. Staying social can help you prevent a depressive episode in the winter. Go to dinner with friends or join a book club. Find something you can do to get out of your house in the winter.
I think travel can be a good treatment for regular depression but it can be really helpful for seasonal depression. If the winters got you down plan a trip to go lay on a sunny beach somewhere. Do some research and find out when the offseason is for some of your dream destinations. You can get good deals if you’re able to travel outside of the normal vacation months. Getting out of your environment can help you shake yourself out of your funk and if you can get some time in the sun even better.
I hope you found this post helpful. If you’re looking for more tricks check out some of my other articles about depression. If you’re struggling with seasonal depression right now remember that the summer is coming. Hopefully you can add in some light therapy or exercise to make it a little easier. If you are struggling please take excellent care of yourself.
I am not a licensed therapist. If you are suffering from a major disorder and need treatment please seek the help of a professional. If you need help finding a mental health care provider call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit BetterHelp to talk to a certified therapist online at an affordable price. You can download a free printable list of hotlines here and join the free mental health support group on Facebook here. This post contains affiliate links, you can read my full disclosure policy here.
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