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Wellness > Mental Health

How to Cope with Seasonal Depression

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Jefferson chapter.

With the change of seasons, it is common to hear that mental health starts to decline and rates of depression rise. It is a completely common experience to feel as if your mental health is slipping as the temperature drops, and it is important to know that you are not alone. Seasonal Depression, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is when the change of seasons and lack of sunlight creates a biochemical imbalance causing depression and anxiety, which interferes with optimal daily functioning. Seasonal depression can cause symptoms like but are not limited to extreme fatigue, trouble concentrating, indecisiveness, suicidal thoughts, and loss of appetite. Taking proper preventative measures can help suppress seasonal affective disorder by aiding in appreciating the change in seasons as opposed to dreading the change. 

Finding simple ways to make your mindset better by romanticizing the mundane in your life can do wonders at warding off seasonal affective disorder. One way to start romanticizing your life is by making music playlists for each season that can aid with integrating into the change and can help your mind anticipate the change with a positive perspective. Choosing songs that not only align with the season but also songs that make you feel positive emotions can give you a brighter outlook on these dull months. Another way to romanticize your life is by coming up with staple fall outfits that you feel confident in. This is an easy way to boost your mood simply by feeling good about the clothes you are in. 

During fall, leaning into Halloween can help to give your mind something to look forward to and prepare for. Decorating your apartment with fall decor and Halloween memorabilia can give you something to put a smile on your face when you get home after a long cold day. Going out and enjoying fall activities such as pumpkin patches, haunted houses, fall festivals, and so on. 

During the colder months, our bodies’ natural reaction are to stay inside and hibernate away. However, this is extremely counterintuitive and can make us feel extremely disconnected from our environment, which gives the perfect opportunity for seasonal depression to grip you. It is very important to continually reach out to your friends and loved ones, not only for your benefit but for theirs too, because you never know if they could be dealing with seasonal depression as well. Scheduling social time into your calendar by doing fun seasonal activities together would help you appreciate the beauty of the changing season and help connect you to your friends. 

Doing something kind for another person has been proven to boost our serotonin levels, causing happy feelings and emotions. Doing one small act of kindness each day not only helps create a more unified world but also boosts the mood of your internal world. Looking forward to performing these small acts of kindness each day can be a big motivator to wake up each morning. 

Self-care has become a very mainstream idea nowadays, but even so, not many people take the time every day to be kind and gentle with themselves. Doing something that will put a smile on your face each and every day can help you develop a stronger relationship with yourself. Seasonal affective disorder can make you lose your relationship with yourself, but by starting to do nice things for yourself before you are hit with seasonal depression can lessen its effects. 

Overall, while it may seem like seasonal affective disorder is unavoidable, like the change of seasons is unavoidable, there are ways to prevent and cope with it. 

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Abigail Slawek

Jefferson '25

Abigail Slawek is a psychology and trauma counseling major at Thomas Jefferson University. She is obsessed with astrology, tarot cards, crystals, and all things witchy! Things she is passionate about are mental health, wellness, and self-love!