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 to overcome it for me. 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 what works for one person doesn’t always work for someone else. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t share. Rather I think it’s more important to share because one person’s unusual way of dealing with seasonal depression may help someone else who is looking for answers. While we all know a healthy diet and exercise help depression, using full spectrum lighting helps many people too. The light pictured below is the light that I sit in front of for fifteen minutes daily, and it really helps, especially when we have several days in a row where we don’t see the sun at all.
My husband gave me this lamp one year for Christmas and was worried that I might be upset. It may be the best gift he ever game me for Christmas because that was the first year I ever remember feeling good in February, and that is huge.
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, so what do you do? 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, 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. Once you have your plan in place, then you can move on with your life.
Mood lifters anyone can learn about and use
Two other big helpers for me 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 my podcast about learning to breathe that you can listen to here. For yoga at any level and for any length of time, I am a fan of the Gaia app. To learn more about them, you can visit their website.
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. They are to breathe, move your shoulders, open your mouth, wiggle and bend. Deep breaths bring oxygen to your brain and help you think straight. Moving your shoulders gets blood pumping. Opening your mouth relaxes your jaw. Wiggling is just fun and bending gets that moving blood to the brain. While they each have benefits of their own, they also 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
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. If you’d like to hear more about my journey and how I deal with my seasonal issues, you can watch the video I published below.
So what do you do about your seasonal issues? I would love to hear from you, so send me an email at email@example.com and remember to live your best life and let the rest go.