“Seasonal depression”— if you haven’t experienced it yourself, you almost certainly know someone who has. But, just what is seasonal depression exactly?
Seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder, or “SAD” (how fitting), is a repeated cycle of depression that occurs in people around the same time every year. Generally, it’s thought to apply to people affected by the lack of sunlight when daylight savings hits. However, it also occurs in people who live in sunny climates, so if you’re thinking that you just need to move to Hawaii to help any depression, that’s not the case (but Hawaii, in general, may help any bad emotion).
So then, if seasonal depression is a repeated cycle, and not associated with a clear cause, what can you do to beat it?
- Ensure your bedroom lighting is bright and inviting.
The sun may not be out as much anymore, but that doesn’t mean your environment has to be dark. Ever wonder why problems seem more massive at night? It’s easier to battle your demons when you’re standing in the (created) light of day.
- Stay busy.
A lot of the time winter makes us feel lethargic and lazy. It’s too cold to want to work out— even walking to the dining hall is a 50/50 bet on whether you’ll make it out the door. But, sometimes doing nothing is just giving your brain more time to drive you crazy. Staying busy can keep you from being able to ruminate on bad thoughts.
- Eat healthy.
Eating poorly has been linked to problems with mental health for so long that the science is impossible to ignore. Getting the right nutrients will boost your mood, your energy levels, and your metabolism.
- Surround yourself with people who lift you up.
One of the worst parts of seasonal depression is how lonely it can make you feel. Being around people who understand that you may not be at your best right now, but will love you in spite of your dark moments, is key to getting through the season.
Lastly, I’m all too aware of the fact that you can do all of these things, and still feel the impacts of seasonal depression immensely. Depression is depression, whether it’s year-long or not, and when you’re in the middle of it, sometimes it’s hard to see how you’ll ever get out.
Nothing special, just a positive affirmation for your day.