8 Tips to Manage & Beat Seasonal Depression
Gloomy skies and low temperatures are coming our way and, as always, some of us will receive the gift of melancholy that accompanies them. For many, it’s just this – melancholy, but for up to 6 percent of Americans, this transforms into seasonal depression. Scientists call it the seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and its main symptom is simply feeling sad. Typically, the sadness has no apparent reason and takes over your life and daily routine. Seasonal depression starts in the fall and gets worse in the winter. Many of those suffering from SAD will start feeling better only when the sunny days of spring return.
Hello, beautiful! I pray that you’re doing exceedingly well!
Why do we get SAD?
Although there have been numerous studies conducted on the seasonal affective disorder, experts aren’t exactly sure what causes it. Most of them think that when seasons change a disruption of our 24-hour clock occurs. Our internal 24-hour clock is responsible for and operates our sleeping and waking hours which is why the disruption affects our mood. Others think that our serotonin and melatonin hormones that regulate sleep and mood are to blame. One thing is sure: SAD is a real thing and you are not to blame for your affective disorder. There is an entire palette of emotions and symptoms that accompany the seasonal affection disorder, such as:
These are the messengers that usually announce something is wrong with your inner balance and state of mind. People with seasonal depression feel the need to withdraw from social activities because they are feeling tired most of the time and they find it hard to even get out of bed. Some of them are also experiencing an increased appetite for carbohydrates which causes weight gain. They also have a hard time focusing on anything and find no pleasure in their usual activities. Lethargy steps in and then Netflix kicks in!
How to beat seasonal depression?
The good news is that you can beat seasonal depression. You just need to find the power to fight back and see the sunshine inside you. Here are some tips that will help you keep SAD away:
1. Spend time outdoors.
Whenever you’re feeling that seasonal depression knocking at your door, go outside. Go for a walk or hike, bike, jog, or sit on a bench and feed the pigeons. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you’re spending as much time as possible outdoors. Don’t postpone getting outside for too long. It’s recommended to be on your way within two hours of waking up otherwise you get too cozy in your bed. Don’t let bad weather stop you; unless it’s a hurricane or snowstorm. Get your umbrella and go out even if it’s raining. Daylight helps fight the seasonal depression; embrace it!
2. Let light be your healer.
Lightboxes are a helpful way to boost your mood and reduce the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. SAD light therapy is an effective treatment but it should always be done under the supervision of a professional. They help you set the right type of light and brightness that works for you and establish the perfect timing and positioning so you can enjoy the best results. A SAD lamp basically notifies the body that it’s time to wake up by decreasing the melatonin hormone which keeps us asleep. The light boxes for SAD are designed to give off light that mimics the sunshine which is why its light is brighter than regular light bulbs. It is suggested that people with seasonal depression spend usually about 30 minutes a day in front of a SAD light.
3. Stick to your routine.
Maintaining your routine helps your body cope with the season change and respect its usual sleeping/getting up schedule. A routine also improves your sleep and fight the symptoms of the seasonal affective disorder because your body will know exactly when it will get its share of light and when it has to go to sleep.
4. Watch your diet!
Diets high in sugar and carbohydrates are triggers for the symptoms of depression such as fatigue, mood changes, and more. On the other hand, diets with more fiber, fruits, vegetables, and dairy lower the odds of depression. Keep in mind that the quality of the carbohydrate-rich foods chosen, not quantity, should be the focus.
5. MOVE! Exercising is great for increasing the feel-good hormones: serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, & oxytocin. Second, it increases your energy levels, boosts self-esteem, and keeps you physically healthy.
6. Socialize. I know this is easier said than done, but it is extremely important that you maintain your relationships with family and friends. Second, getting out from time to time will help to take your mind off yourself and focus on others. Loving on others has a way of lifting our spirits that is lasting and penetrates our heart. Third, you don’t want to alienate yourself from the very people who can help you if things get too tough. Allow them the opportunity to be a blessing to you!
7. Find your inner sunshine.
If you’re affected by SAD, you will always feel at war with your body. Your mind will want to follow the same routine while your body will just want to binge-watch a Netflix show and feel sorry for itself. You must be the mediator of this war and you can only do this if you find your inner balance. Meditation and prayers do wonders for your state of mind. Relax and get in touch with yourself. Reach for divinity! Communicate with yourself and work together to fight SAD. Aromatherapy is also a great way to lift your spirits above all things terrestrial and getting into the healing hands of God.
8. If nothing works, call your doctor!
If you feel that your seasonal depression is getting out of control call your doctor immediately! SAD is a form of depression so connect with a mental health professional for help if none of the above tips and other remedies don’t seem to work. Additionally, prescription anti-depressants may help you fight seasonal depression. However, make sure you only take them under the supervision of a professional and only if your SAD can’t be managed otherwise.
The first step in healing seasonal depression is to acknowledge that this is a real disorder and treat it accordingly. Don’t let people tell you that what you’re feeling is just a mood swing! Or better yet, don’t let anyone tell you how you feel. If you recognize the symptoms of the seasonal affective disorder see a doctor as soon as possible and fight like heck to take back your life!
Have you ever experienced seasonal depression? How did you cope? Join my private Facebook Group, The Spice Rack to keep the conversation going. Your experience may help someone else cope! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter!!
As always, be #fearlessauthenticunapologetic and keep it Chic.Classy.Spicy.