Seasonal Depression

With the holidays around the corner, it is expected for us to be as merry on the inside as the decorations around us. However, often times we find ourselves feeling specially down during the Fall/Winter months. The environment for the blues to manifest is there: shorter days, longer nights, colder weather, the flu, the commercials and movies reminding you (if you are) that you’re far away from your family, and (if you’re in college) the very dreaded finals season. If you’ve been feeling down lately, you’re not alone and there’s actually a name for the phenomenon that you are experiencing: seasonal depression.

The official name is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and is triggered by the change in seasons that occurs primarily in winter. Your circadian rhythm can become disrupted, along with your serotonin and melatonin hormones, which regulate sleep, mood, and feelings of well-being.

Here are some suggestions that may help ease Seasonal Depression:

1. Aroma Therapy

Essential oils can influence the area of the brain that controls your moods and the body’s internal clock that affects sleep and appetite.

Tip: You can add a few drops of essential oils to your baths at night to help you relax. Essential oils from the poplar tree have been found to help more than others.

 

2. Exercise

It’s no secret that exercise can help ease stress and anxiety. So, it doesn’t come as a surprise that it can also help with depression. The release of endorphins would certainly help improve your mood. Weight gain is also common with seasonal depression, so exercising could help counter it. Tip: working out outside during the daytime is thought to be most helpful.

 

3. Take advantage of the sunlight.

Even if the temperatures are low, you might want to try bundling up and taking a stroll at least around the block while the sun is out. If you’re inside, let the light in by opening your curtains/blinds. Light therapy is highly recommended when undergoing seasonal depression.

 

4. Stick to a routine.

If you’re a Sagittarius like me, this might be a bit difficult, but the challenge can be worth it. Keeping a sleeping schedule can improve quality of sleep, which may improve mood and focus. Having a workout schedule routine can release endorphins at a regular rate.

 

5. Journal.

Setting aside a few minutes each day to write out your thoughts and emotions can help release any bad vibes or anxieties you might be carrying. Journaling in the morning whatever thoughts come to mind can help you focus better throughout the day. Some of the thoughts that might’ve lingered on your mind throughout the day will remain in the journal instead. If you journal at night time, it can be a good way to reflect on your day and wake up with a clearer mind.

 

Whether these suggestions work for you or not, do know that seasonal depression is normal and common, among all genders and most age groups. If at any point you feel overwhelmed or hopeless, speaking to a friend or a mental health professional (like a therapist at your university) may help.

 

Sources:

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad.htm

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9293-seasonal-depression

https://www.everydayhealth.com/depression/treatment/ways-to-ease-seasonal-depression/