Dealing With Seasonal Depression

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as seasonal depression, is a type of depression that’s related to changes in the seasons. It usually begins and ends at about the same time every year. Symptoms usually start in fall and continue into the winter months. They include but are not limited to:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day or nearly every day

  • Low interest in activities you once enjoyed

  • Having low energy

  • Having problems sleeping

  • Experiencing changes in either your appetite, weight or both

  • Feeling sluggish or agitated

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Feel hopeless, worthless or guilty

  • In severe cases, frequent thoughts of death or suicide

For fall and winter SAD:

  • Oversleeping

  • Appetite changes, especially crave food high in carbohydrates

  • Weight gain

  • Tiredness Or low energy

For spring and summer SAD:

  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)

  • Poor appetite

  • Weight loss

  • Agitation or anxiety

If you have any of these symptoms you could be suffering from SAD, but there are ways to help cope. Please keep in mind we are not professionals. If you think you need help, do not be afraid to reach out to a professional.

Remember the things you like doing and try to keep doing them. The best way to get you in a better mood is to do the things that make you happy. This could be your hobbies, watching your favorite movie or reading your favorite book. Hanging out with friends and families in your favorite spots or doing things activities you enjoy doing with friends and family.

Exercise. Studies have proven that exercise does help relieve some of the anxiety (a side effect of depression) which in the end helps you relax.

Eating healthy. You’ve heard the saying, healthy mind, healthy body. Carbohydrates are good in moderation. Everything is good for you in moderation. Make sure to eat plenty of fruits and proteins especially those rich in nutrients and vitamins. This also includes drinking plenty of water and cutting down on caffeine intake.

Take supplements. You may not be getting your daily vitamin intake. Make sure to take daily vitamins. Take other supplements that may help as well. Melatonin helps you stay asleep. There are other vitamins and supplements that have been proven to help with anxiety and depression but make sure to consult your doctor before taking them. Here’s a list:

  • St. John’s Wort

  • Omega-3 fatty acids

  • Fish oil

  • Vitamin B-12

  • Vitamin B-6

  • Vitamin D

  • Stress B-Complex

  • Magnesium (stress and caffeine could be affecting your intake)

  • Calcium (reducing dairy intake can help decrease the amount of depression you experience)

Seek help. As mentioned before, there’s nothing wrong with seeking professional help by a licensed therapist or psychiatrist. Especially if you’re in college, some universities have licensed therapist ready to help you on campus. Here at the University of Cincinnati, help is right on campus and just a phone call away with the CAPS program. If your university doesn’t have a therapist program here are some off-campus and FREE or low-cost resources.

Never be afraid to reach out. You’re not alone.