Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) alone can be quite tough to deal with on an annual basis, especially for those who suffer with its most notorious form – winter depression.
With COVID-19, the second lockdown, and daylight savings all coming into play however, it might be more challenging for some this time around. Challenges can be overcome though. Here is a list of ways on how to treat your seasonal depression.
What is seasonal depression?
Seasonal depression is a particular form of depression that emerges when the seasons change.
Most usually experience it during winter, when the temperature drops and the nights are long. The lack of warmth and sunshine can negatively affect your mental health and make you feel drained.
But seasonal depression isn’t restricted to just the winter time. People can also experience it throughout spring, summer, and autumn. What’s important is that, no matter the season, you don’t have to dismiss your depression as seasonal blues and tough it out.
What are the symptoms of seasonal depression?
Seasonal depression symptoms can include:
- Feeling low a lot of the time
- Losing interest in things you once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite and sleeping patterns
- Feeling lethargic or irritated
- Having trouble concentrating
- Suicidal thoughts or feelings
What can I do to cope?
There is a range of things that can be done when dealing with seasonal depression. Let’s go through some of these below:
Maximise exposure to light
Whether it’s natural sunlight or purchasing a light therapy box, it can help lift your mood during those long, dark days.
Light therapy in particular entails sitting in front of a box that emits an extremely bright light for twenty minutes at a time, usually in the morning when the sun’s rays would make an appearance.
What would also be useful is waking up earlier than usual to utilise as much natural sunlight as possible – have your breakfast by an east-facing window, or stretch your legs by going for a walk to start your day on the right note. And luckily, you can still exercise outdoors this lockdown.
Keep yourself busy
Keeping productive is not only useful in providing a distraction, but can also make you feel as if you have a purpose during those dark and dreary days.
Go for a walk, taking a lungful of brisk air can reinvigorate you. You can also do a home workout, it doesn’t have to be intense but just enough to get the endorphins running.
Reconnecting with family and friends that you haven’t spoken to in a while is also useful in sharing your thoughts and feelings, and can make you feel less alone.
Indulge in self-care
Have a hot bath, eat that chocolate bar that’s been sitting in the cupboard, or hop on that series you’ve been meaning to watch for ages.
Self-care comes in many forms. While you should keep yourself preoccupied, it’s also necessary to be kind to yourself during this time. Find a perfect balance so you don’t end up overstressing yourself.
This year might present more difficulties considering normal avenues of relieving seasonal depression – such as going out for a meal or meeting up with friends – have been limited due to the global pandemic, and currently, the second lockdown.
But there are things that you can still implement in your day-to-day routine that can make a difference when dealing with seasonal depression.
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