Man… these shorter days that get darker sooner… they certainly know how to put me in a mood. With cooler weather creeping into the air, I can also feel a pit my stomach start to grow as the temperature drops.
When this begins to crawl back into my life every year, here are some things I begin to experience… let me know if any of these apply to you as well:
- The depression I already have to manage… seems to get more difficult to manage.
- My energy depletes a lot faster.
- I lose an active interest in the things I normally love to do.
- I am not eating the same way I normally would.
- I am sleeping a lot more than I usually do.
These are all signs that point toward Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, which is a very serious type of depression.
According to Mental Health America, around 5% of the United States population experiences SAD any given year. That’s around 10 million people in the United States, according to Boston University.
Seeing that so many people may be experiencing the same thing that I experience every winter season, I wanted to share with you some of the ways that I manage it on a daily basis. Let me know if any of these work for you as well!
1 – Speak with a Mental Health Professional
I am NOT A mental health professional, nor do I play one on television. Seasonal depression is a very serious thing that should be talked through with a qualified expert who can give you the tools needed to manage this.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to a medical professional that can guide you. Trust me, you don’t need to do this alone. I used to think I could handle this stuff on my own… boy was I wrong.
If you need help finding a medical professional that can help you, click here.
2 – Don’t Be Afraid To Socialize with Friends & Family
As a lot of you may know already, I am a MAJOR introvert. Any time that I have a chance to be at home cuddling with my cats (Hamilton & Burr), I jump at that opportunity.
With that said however, I prioritize socializing with my friends and family. Hanging out with them brings levity and warmth to my life that I don’t think I can get by myself.
And it doesn’t always have to be in person. Phone calls, FaceTime, voice memos, etc. All of these things help you connect with the people that love you the most.
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3 – Keep It Moving!
Sitting still is my worst enemy sometimes. When I am sitting still for a long period of time, I seem to be sitting with my feelings as well. I make an effort to move around as much as I can, even if it’s something as simple as standing up and moving around while I am watching tv.
Exercise helps a lot as well. I try to go to the gym every weekday to keep my blood pumping and my feelings fluid.
4 – Don’t Sit In Darkness
Yes, it might be a little bit cooler outside, but that doesn’t mean that the sun leaves us! With my SAD, I make an effort to keep my blinds and shades open as often as possible during the day. There is just something special about natural light that improves my mood.
Even at night, when natural light isn’t available, you have options! There are plenty of special light boxes you can use that can potentially emulate the natural light you’re looking for. Here is one for you to consider.
5 – Go On Vacation!
I am a BIG fan of winter vacations, especially when they are trips to places with warmer weather. It wasn’t long ago that I took a solo adventure to Southern California. The following year I took a trip to Orlando, Florida. Those were the best decisions I ever made.
(This year, I am taking a trip to Utah, which is not necessarily warmer, but I will be amongst my friends, so it’s okay!)
Also, don’t write-off STAYcations as well. I typically take off from work between Christmas and New Years… and I love feeling refreshed coming into the new year. I’ll most likely do the same this year as well.
Make The Most of the Winter Season!
Trust me, navigating the winter season can be really difficult at times, especially when you are a passionate spring and summer person like me. There is a path toward managing your SAD… just take the first step and it’ll 100% be worth it.
My friends, if you have been experiencing signs of seasonal affective disorder for more than two weeks and lifestyle changes aren’t helping to alleviate the symptoms, it may be time to talk to your doctor or contact a mental health professional. Depression is a serious condition and the longer treatment is delayed, the harder the recovery. Click here if you’re not sure where to begin your journey toward recovery.
Much Love. Good Vibes.