Seasonal depression is no joke. I know this because I deal with it myself.
Most years I handle it well because I know what’s coming, and I learned what works for me to overcome it.
That’s the thing about seasonal depression; what works for one person may not work for someone else.
I think it’s worth sharing what works for each of us, though, because who knows which of your coping mechanisms can help someone else?
What is Seasonal Depression?
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year.
If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.
Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer.” Check out the Mayo Clinic Website for more about symptoms of Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer seasonal depression.
Ways to deal with Seasonal Depression
There are so many ways to deal with seasonal depression, and as I said before, what works for one person doesn’t always work for someone else.
I shared the things that work for me in a radio show once, and someone took great offense to what I said.
For a while I questioned whether I did the right thing, but now, I know I did because the things I shared helped many more people than the one person I offended.
That’s why I think it’s important to share because one person’s unusual way of dealing with seasonal depression may help someone else who is looking for answers.
Step one to a happier you
Diet and exercise are huge for helping your mood.
There is so much research out there about what to do and what will lift your mood through diet and movement, I wouldn’t dare to tackle that in this article.
Suffice to say that people who deal with seasonal depression know that the healthier they eat and the more they do moderate exercise, the better they feel.
In addition to that, each person needs to find what lifts them out of their personal “funk”.
I’ve included a list of items that help me and can hopefully help others as well.
Some of the things that help the most are full spectrum lighting, natural light including candles, music and occasionally even retail therapy.
Be sure to take a look and think about how these items might help you or someone you care about.
My husband gave me a full spectrum lamp one year for Christmas and was worried that I might be upset.
It may be the best gift he ever gave me for Christmas because that was the first year I ever remember feeling good in February, and that is huge.
I do yoga and meditate, and each of them helps me as well.
If you have techniques, practices or items you use to help you beat seasonal depression, please comment below because you never know who you can help.
Disclaimer: If anyone recommends a pill, supplement or rigorous activity, please contact your physician before adding anything to your daily regimen.
Mood lifters anyone can learn about and use
Two of my favorite helpers are yoga and meditation.
The best part about yoga and meditation is that anyone can do them.
While I’ve heard several people say they can’t meditate, I don’t believe that’s true.
Both the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh, two of the most respected Buddhist leaders in the world both advocate for meditation to lift your mood.
Meditation is simply being mindful about your breath.
You can meditate with your eyes open or closed, with music or without.
I give a short lesson on that in a podcast about learning to breathe that you can listen to here.
Mood Lifters you can do anywhere, anytime
While all of the above work well, especially over time, there are several things you can do right now to lighten your mood.
Some may seem silly, but they all work, sometimes instantaneously to help you feel better and move on with your day.
Each one brings extra oxygen to your body and work really well together.
To get your own copy of Five Super Easy Ways to Lift Your Mood and the password for our resource library, sign up below. You will also get access to the growing list of freebies and printables in the Moving Toward Better Resource Library.
Get Your Copy of Five Super Easy Ways to Lift Your Mood
If it gets bad, call your doctor, please!
So, you figure out you have seasonal depression.
You know what to do or you’re at least figuring it out, but it keeps getting worse.
If the worst symptoms last more than a day or two, please see a doctor or reach out to a mental health care professional.
Also, if you have thoughts about harming yourself or others in any way, seek medical attention immediately.
While we talk about the stigma of mental illness, I assure you that feeling better outweighs what anyone thinks about your condition or needing medical intervention to get healthy again.
Work with a qualified professional to get your life back on track. You are worth it.
Seasonal depression truly is nothing to joke about, even though most of us who have it usually do.
For most people it is manageable with simple and easy life changes. For some it takes more than that, and that’s perfectly ok.
Whatever it takes to manage your seasonal issues, please take the appropriate steps to take care of yourself and those you love.
If you need medical attention, please get it.
If you need counseling, call someone, and if you’re too afraid to do it for yourself, ask someone you trust to do it for you because you, my friend, are precious, and this world needs you.
As always, thanks for being you and have a great day.