'Tis the Season for Depression

As the weather changes from fall to winter, and the daylight savings time sinks in, it's hard not to find ourselves feeling a little down. Midterms are never ending, finals are approaching, and the sun never seems to be out. Life gets even harder when all you want to do is get under your covers and sleep because it’s now dark outside 24/7. The need to hibernate, by eating your way through your pantry and then sleeping off your food coma, is real. While all of this may just sound like another winter season in Edmonton, it may also be symptoms of SAD, or seasonal affective disorder.

Common symptoms of SAD, especially in the winter months, can be oversleeping, craving high carb foods which can lead to weight gain, tiredness and low energy, difficulty concentrating, etc. While some might just chalk all of these symptoms up to the weather, it is important to make sure you are checking in with and looking after yourself. SAD can have a huge affect on people, and like depression, can really impact a person's life, in the moment and in the long run. 

SAD can lead to social withdrawal, which can lead to losing friends. It can lead to difficulty with school and work, which could mean not showing up or showing up late and not handing in work. Substance abuse is also a real cocnern. All of this only serves to hurt you, so making sure you are aware of how you are feeling is esential to your wellbeing. If you find yourself dealing with the symptoms of SAD, make sure to go to your doctor. However there are also some things you can do for yourself to get you through the hard months ahead. 

 

Get enough sleep

Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Enough to feel rested, but not too much to where you feel groggy and don't want to get out of bed at all. 

 

Exercise 

This is important no matter the day or time of year. Exercise plays a huge part in a person's well being, by helping manage stress and anxiety. It can also lift your mood because you should feel proud of yourself for going to the gym and taking some time to dedicate to yourself and your wellbeing. 

 

Get some sun

If the sun is out, make sure you are soaking up some rays. Make the choice to open your curtains and sit by the window. However, sometimes this is very hard to do, especially if the sun decides to hide most of the time. Turning to light therapy by getting yourself a light box can be extremely beneficial, and won’t have you waiting for the sun to come out. Its an awesome alternative that provides all of the vitamin D you need for the day.

 

Make healthy choices

Choose an orange over another christmas cookie. Don't turn to alcohol or drugs to find relief. Taking care of yourself also means putting good things into your body, good things that don't immediately drag you down into a food coma.

 

Socialize

Even though it may be hard and feel like it requires too much energy, choosing to socialize is important. It can get you out of the house and spending time with friends who can offer support, a shoulder to cry on, or share a laugh to boost your mood. 

 

Taking care of yourself in the winter months can be hard. The weather, stress, and the anxiety of the holiday season can really affect a person in a negative way. Make sure to put yourself first, recognise the signs, and get help if you need it. At the end of the day, it's your holiday season and your life, so make sure you are living it as best you can!