Depression can come in many forms. For some of us, the winter brings on what is known as “seasonal depression.” Seasonal depression is often caused by shorter days, colder weather, and less sunlight. It can be very harmful to our mental health. We may feel a loss of motivation, lack of interest in hobbies, oversleeping, and many other side effects. Long story short, seasonal depression is rough. However, that doesn’t mean we have to let in win. Here are some great tips on avoiding seasonal depression:
When the days get colder, it’s more tempting to stay at home, watch your favorite TV shows or movies, and eat your favorite junk food. While the temptation is there, it’s important to fight it. “How do you fight it?” you might ask. Well, its starts by making sure you take care of yourself. Make sure you’re still getting some exercise every week. Also, keep track of what you’re eating. Don’t fall into the pattern of putting on some “winter weight.” Your body’s physical health connects to your mental health. Make sure you take care of both.
Write It Out:
Maybe you’re not quite comfortable talking to someone about what you’re feeling yet. Try using a journal. Sometimes writing out what you’re feeling will help you better see what it is that is bothering you, or help you see the problem clearly. There is no shame in writing out your feelings. Write out exactly what it is you’re feeling, then read it back to yourself and see if you can identify ways to attack the problem.
You might not want to go outside as much since its cold. That’s okay. However, don’t let yourself just lay around all day. You will give your mind too much time to overthink and worry about things. Start by accomplishing small things, like house chores or smaller tasks. If that doesn’t sound appealing, focus on your hobbies. Maybe you like reading, playing video games, playing an instrument, drawing/painting, and so on. You could even try picking up some new hobbies that sound appealing to you. Don’t be afraid to give something a chance, you may be surprised what it does to your mood.
This might be one of the biggest ones. The weather may put a damper on plans with your friends and family, but don’t let that stop you from socializing. Make all the efforts you can to still go and visit friends and family. If the weather is too bad, try having a video call hangout (through Zoom, Skype, Facetime, etc.). Maintaining a healthy social life during this time of the year is important, especially if you’ve had seasonal depression in the past.
This can actually work well with writing things out. Make it a point to remind yourself of good things in your life daily. For example, when you wake up, remind yourself of five things you’re grateful for. Throughout the day, give yourself compliments. Remind yourself of things you should be proud of. Daily affirmations like this can go a long way in not only avoiding seasonal depression, but in creating a more positive mindset for you as a whole.
Sometimes, no matter what we try, we still need help. This can mean a variety of things. Maybe it’s just talking to a friend or a family member about what you’re feeling. It can also mean going to see a doctor or therapist about what is going. There is no shame in needing help. This isn’t admitting defeat, as a matter of fact, it’s the opposite. This is telling yourself that you won’t be defeated.
Don’t let the seasonal depression stop you from being happy. You’re strong, you’re resilient, and you’re a fighter. You’ve got this!