Tips for Keeping Seasonal Depression at Bay

We all see it happening. The sun is setting earlier. People are dressing warmer. The leaves are starting to change colors. These are obvious signs that summer has come to an end and that the colder, darker months are approaching. While fall and winter can be an exciting time filled with fun holidays and comfy sweaters, it can also be extremely depressing. 

Though only a fraction of the population meets the criteria for seasonal affective disorder (SAD), the vast majority of us still face some degree of seasonal blues. Luckily, there are some steps that can be taken to prepare for this seasonal sadness. While these tips likely won’t prevent seasonal depression completely, they might help make these next few months slightly more bearable. 

 

  1. 1. Invest in Light Therapy

    While some may be apprehensive to believe in its benefits, light therapy has been found to be effective in resetting your circadian rhythm, which improves sleep and boosts energy levels. It also triggers the release of serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood and preventing depression. Just thirty minutes of exposure to a light therapy box each day has shown to fight off much of the depression that tends to creep in during the darker months of the year. 

  2. 2. Keep Yourself Busy

    It is tempting to stay in bed all day and hide from the cold, especially when seasonal depression is weighing you down. However, this only exacerbates depression, which in turn makes it even harder to get out of bed, starting a vicious, never-ending cycle. Even though it may feel like the last thing you want to do, force yourself to visit friends or attend club meetings. Staying involved and surrounded by others will ultimately be extremely helpful in keeping those dark clouds of seasonal depression at bay.

  3. 3. Amp up your fall and winter wardrobe

    While this may seem like a waste of time and money, something that can really help you survive the cold months is upgrading your fall and winter wardrobe. Even something as simple as wearing a new jacket or pair of boots that you love can brighten up your day and can give you something to look forward to. Plus, if you feel confident in what you’re wearing, this will boost your mood even more!

  4. 4. Keep Up Your Self-Care Routine

    For me, one of the best parts about summer is laying out in the sun and getting a tan. Of course, once summer comes to an end, the color you just acquired fades almost immediately. Personally, I feel a million times more confident when I’m tan, so if you’re like me, I recommend buying some self-tanner to keep that summer tan and confidence all year long. Keeping up with other aspects of your appearance, such as getting a manicure, can also give your confidence an extra boost and can ultimately make you feel more put together, which can improve your overall mood!

  5. 5. Stay Positive

    Most importantly, do your best to focus on the positive aspects of fall and winter, like how pretty the colorful leaves are and how exciting the holiday season is. Surround yourself with positive people, practice self-care, and find time to do activities that make you happy!

Following these tips might help you get through the next few months. However, if seasonal depression starts to be debilitating, don’t be afraid to reach out for help and always remember that you’re not alone. Spring and summer will be back before you know it!