Helpful hints for dealing with seasonal depression

Winter is on its way. I can tell, not just by the calendar, but by the changing weather. Today, it has been very windy, and predictions are for the wind speeds to reach approximately 50 miles per hour. That’s not hurricane force winds, but it is enough to knock the remaining leaves off of the trees. 

Some of find that our mood is affected by the transition into winter.  I notice that I feel sad, sensitive to rejection, sluggish, and I find that I have some difficulty in getting along with others. I want to sleep. I wake up in the dark and wonder why I’m not still asleep. I feel trapped inside.

My form of seasonal affective disorder is, fortunately, mild. Many people have more severe depression. They may be in need of medical help. I found a lot of information at the Mayo Clinic website about seasonal affective disorder that may help. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should go see your doctor if you feel down and unable to motivate yourself to do your usual activities for days at a time. You should especially seek medical attention if you feel hopeless, are thinking frequently of death or suicide, or are turning to alcohol for comfort. 

Serious note:  If you are suicidal, please call a local suicide hotline or, if you are in the United States, the national suicide hotline at 1.800.273.8255. 

The Mayo Clinic staff, on their website, recommends an evaluation, both physical and psychological, to rule out such things as a poorly functioning thyroid or any underlying health problem, which may cause symptoms that may seem like depression or seasonal affective disorder. There are various types of treatment that can help ease the symptoms, including light therapy, medication, and psychotherapy. Also, you can take vitamin D. That is something that you will get via sunlight during the summer but, in the winter, you will need to supplement. In addition, there are home remedies that the Mayo Clinic staff recommends. These include getting exercise, going outside to get fresh air, and making your home environment brighter and lighter. Trimming tree branches that may block your window is helpful. Adding skylights is a good touch because it brings in light from a higher spot than windows would. 

Here are a few more things that you could do: 

Do something creative. One of the things that you might enjoy is to color in an adult coloring book. These books are loads of fun. I just bought one today at a dollar store for… you guessed it… one dollar! So get out your colored pencils or your markers and play with color!

As I mentioned early, getting fresh air is a good idea. You can take a nice winter walk. If the snow is newly fallen, it is very pretty and it glitters in the sunlight. At night, it shines like diamonds if the moon is full and bright. And, speaking about the moon, there will be a huge supermoon on the fourteen of this month. If it’s a clear night, I will be out looking at it, and I recommend that you look at the magnificent moon.

You could also do a snowshoe hike or you could cross country ski in a nearby park.

One of the recommendations for combating seasonal affective disorder is to travel to a tropical climate or a subtropical climate. OK, so I have to admit that, five years ago, when I was in Ecuador for the winter and early spring, I did not feel depressed at all. That is because I was close to the equator. When you are farther away from the equator,you are more likely to have seasonal affective disorder.

If you can’t afford to travel that far, how about getting a DVD with nice images of beach scenes? Relax and imagine that you are on a lovely beach. And then, make yourself go outside and take a winter walk. It will feel good.

Here is a link to the Mayo Clinic’s helpful hints about seasonal affective disorder: Mayo Clinic Advice about Seasonal Affective Disorder

3 thoughts on “Helpful hints for dealing with seasonal depression”

  1. Definitely getting exercise and daylight helps. I really like the idea of listening or looking at tropical sounds, sights. Someday I want to move somewhere warmer, but for now, I'm in New England because this is where my "life" (kids, family) is.

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