Some Tips For Fighting Winter Blues

5 Small Actions To Take To Help With Depression

By Faith Knudson


    Winter, or at least wintery weather, has been in effect in our area for quite some time now. For many, the segue from fall to winter triggers the onset of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), also colloquially known as the “winter blues.” Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression that typically begins in the fall and continues into spring or summer, although it can occur at any time of the year. As the months progress, the symptoms worsen. Individuals with pre-existing depression also sometimes find that their depression increases during winter months. This “winter depression,” as some call it, could be due to the shortage of daylight hours. Less sunlight can upset circadian rhythms, decrease serotonin, and increase melatonin. (Source)


    All of this on top of holiday and back-to-school stress can lead to feelings of lethargy and hopelessness. As an individual with dysthymia, or mild chronic depression, this time of the year is tough for me. I’m sure that any of the 350 million people around the world with depression can attest to the fact that some days are better than others. Even on really low-energy days, small steps can be taken to make yourself feel the smallest bit better.


1) Take care of your personal hygiene.

- Small actions such as showering, brushing your teeth, putting on deodorant, or changing your clothes can help you feel a million times better.


2) Drink a glass of water.

- This is especially important if you’ve been crying recently. The simple act of hydration makes me feel more grounded, as silly as it sounds. Congratulate yourself for doing something healthy for your body!


3) Check in with your friends/family.

- Think about the feeling of comfort. Think about which person in your life makes you feel the most comfortable. Text them and tell them how you’re feeling. Emotional support is important.


4) Listen to your favorite songs.

- Music is also really grounding. At the very least, it can often help you feel things other than just sadness. Just try not to only listen to sad songs.


5) Organize something.

- This can be your bed, your desk, your bedside table, etc. Decluttering/organizing the space around you can help declutter/organize your headspace as well.


These actions are not cures by any means, and your mileage may vary on how they make you feel. These are just a few minimal-energy tasks that help me feel more human. They’re all optional, and it’s okay to accomplish any amount of them. Even doing one can help. Above all, remember that you and your mental health are valid.