The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Summer has come to a close, and fall is officially upon us! While I certainly enjoy the fall treats, scary movies, and Halloween, this also means that the days get shorter and colder. Already, I miss the sun’s warm rays and how green all of the plants used to be. When summer transitions into fall, this can cause people to become more tired, feel more sluggish, and lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. Due to the shorter days and lack of sunshine, approximately 10 million Americans are impacted by seasonal depression and suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is usually the worst during the winter months. For those already suffering from a mental illness, this can greatly exaggerate symptoms of SAD; however, it is also important to note that the “winter blues” can affect just about everyone. While there is no cure, seasonal depression can still be managed. These are the tips work best for me–and hopefully, they can help you, too.
1. Invest in a “Happy Light”
There are a few different names for these lamps, but it is essentially a super bright light that is meant to mimic the sun. This is a form of light therapy, and it is recommended that someone with seasonal depression starts this in early fall and continues it into early spring. The Mayo Clinic also recommends that light therapy should be done 20-30 minutes in the morning.
2. Start Aromatherapy
Because certain smells are known to trigger different memories, I use aromatherapy to remind me of the summertime. Sometimes, I will pray on a little sunscreen or tanning oil just to feel like I’m on the beach again. Using fresh citrus scents in an oil diffuser works best for me, as well as using a lemon-scented essential oil. Certain scents are also thought by some to help battle depression, such as peppermint, ginger, or lavender.
3. Consider Taking a Vitamin D Supplement
There have been studies reported within different scientific journals that suggest that taking Vitamin D can help ease symptoms of depression. This is definitely a cost-effective way and an alternative to anti-depressants to those who are worried about any the side effects. If it is sunny out, then you can also bask in the sunshine to get a daily dose of Vitamin D that way, too. Getting outside as often as possible, outside of walking to and from class, has also been beneficial.
The combination of these three things has seemed to help me the most so far, but I know that I have to remain consistent in others to see worth-while effects. There is also no shame in seeking out therapy if you find that what you try doesn’t seem to be helping your depression. Just remember that while these months may seem to drag on and feel dull, spring will inevitably come again.