Seasonal depression, also known as a seasonal affective disorder or SAD, is common during the dark days of winter. During the fall and winter, when you have shorter days and less sunlight, it’s reasonable to exhibit symptoms of depression. Seasonal depression can impact your mood, sleep, appetite, energy levels, and overall well-being.
How Does Seasonal Depression Work?
During the winter, when days are shorter, and we see less sunlight, our brain produces less serotonin—making it more difficult for us to regulate our moods. This can impact our sleep, memory, appetite, and sex drive. More darkness can also cause your brain to produce more melatonin, making you feel drowsier and causing a lack of energy. With longer nights and shorter days, your body is naturally impacted.
How To Deal With Seasonal Depression
1. ExerciseExercising regularly can drastically impact your mood over time. Exercise increases the brain’s production of dopamine and serotonin—making you feel happier. Physical activity affects your long term and immediately. 2. ConnectionFeeling connected to those around you is an excellent way to combat depression. Feelings of depression often lead to being solitude, which tends to worsen depression. Lean on your support network and develop deep relationships—this can shift your mood and give you energy through those long nights. 3. Vitamin DIt can be challenging to get enough sunlight during the winter. Do what you can to ensure that you are getting enough vitamin D. This could mean spending more time outside, opening blinds, sitting by a window, or even taking a vitamin D supplement. 4. Recognize the SignsThe first step in fighting depression, including seasonal depression is to recognize it. It’s completely normal to feel the effects of the season—it’s okay to feel sadness. Recognize the signs so that you can address them and improve your situation. 5. MeditationMany studies have proven meditation’s ability to improve your mood. Meditation allows you to calm your body and mind as you take some time to focus on breathing and pull away from any negative or anxious thoughts. 6. Ask for HelpIn some cases, getting professional help is the best course of action. Discussing your situation with someone who has trained for this can give you the tools you need to combat depression for years to come. There is no shame in asking for help—you’re just getting more tools to deal with a tricky thing. 7. Take a TripMost people schedule their trips during the summer but having a trip to look forward to during the dark and challenging months can be a big help. Schedule a trip to look forward to and to plan for. Planning a trip can be as exciting as going on the trip! Sometimes just getting out of your everyday life can be a big relief. Seasonal depression and other mental illnesses can send those in addiction recovery into a spiral. Don’t fall back into old habits this winter—make the most of the season. If you or a loved one needs help combatting their mental illness or addiction, see us at Ardu.