Hey. So if you’re here, you’re probably suffering from some seasonal depression now that it’s getting colder (or warmer depending on where you are).
Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered when it comes to finding ways to combat this intense shift in your mood and get you on the road to recovery.
But first, let’s very quickly learn a little bit more about seasonal depression.
What’s seasonal depression?
Seasonal depression is a type of depression that comes and goes over different seasons. Personally I don’t get on with the heat so I suffer more with it in the summer. Although the majority get hit over the winter. You may also know it as “the winter blues” or “winter depression”.
Seasonal Depression Symptoms
The symptoms are pretty much the same as regular depression but as stated above it only happens at certain times of the year. The symptoms can include;
- Very low mood
- No longer finding enjoyment in things you used to love.
- Lack of energy, sleeping more and not wanting to do anything.
- Eating more and gaining weight.
- Getting annoyed easily
- And more!
Now, let’s get started!
How can you combat seasonal depression?
Combat Seasonal Depression – Tip #1
Go out for walks regularly
Going out for walks is a great natural remedy for seasonal depression. I know it may be bitter cold, but even just getting out for 15 minutes every day will do you the world of good.
The longer you are out blowing the cobwebs away the better. Personally, the best place to walk and really be in your element is in nature. This could be around a local park or anywhere with lots of grass, trees and animals.
These environments will definitely boost your mood and help to combat your seasonal depression symptoms.
Combat Seasonal Depression – Tip #2
Yes, walking is a form of exercise but other forms work nicely to fight off seasonal depression too.
Remember to only do what you feel comfortable with and never push yourself too hard. Pushing yourself too hard everyday could result in you hating exercising, feeling angry with yourself and therefore making your depression worse. Don’t let this happen and find what works for you.
I know in the current circumstances, just going to a gym isn’t as easy. However, there are so many exercise routines that you can still do at home without having to pay a penny. Just do a little search on youtube or go out for a run or cycle. The world is your oyster.
Now for my favourite type of exercise which I thought deserved its own section on the list.
Combat Seasonal Depression – Tip #3
Yoga is amazing. I can’t vouch for it enough and the impact it has on your mental health once you add it into your routine.
All the breathing, slow stretches and poses can help to focus your mind, ground you and combat your seasonal depression – you will feel the benefits long after so its totally worth it. Yoga can also relieve stress and anxiety and improve your quality of life. So, you can’t go wrong.
It’s easy to do from home when you can’t go to an actual class as there are so many yoga tutorials for beginners on youtube.
Check out this video from one of my favourite yoga channels. It’s a great place to get started.
Combat Seasonal Depression – Tip #4
Keep yourself busy
Keeping yourself busy is vital when dealing with seasonal depression.
It’s so easy to spiral and dwell in the thoughts that the depression supplies you with when you’re not doing anything during the day.
Just find yourself something to do so there is never a dull moment. I know this is easier said than done at the moment but even stuck at home, you can still find things to do. Here are a few examples:
- Write something – Start that novel you were thinking about. Answer some journal prompts.
- Listen to music and dance like a maniac.
- Exercise (as mentioned above)
- Do some colouring.
- Watch something.
- Read something.
The list could go on. Keep yourself as occupied as possible regardless of the weather and don’t let the winter blues take over. You got this!
Combat Seasonal Depression – Tip #5
I’m not sitting with my legs crossed making weird noises. I guess you’re thinking right now. But that is not what meditation is. There are actually quite a few forms of meditation. My personal favourite which is perfect for combating seasonal depression (or depression in general) is mindfulness.
No, you don’t have to sit in any uncomfortable positions. I personally meditate lying down. You need to be comfortable or it won’t work.
Mindfulness meditation will help you to focus your mind and shift it into a more stable position. It’s incredibly relaxing and will calm you when things get too much.
Especially with everything going on at the moment, meditation has been a lifesaver. I hope it will be for you too.
Feel free to check out this 5 minute guided meditation to give you a taste for it. Remember, we are all different and if this isn’t for you, that’s okay.
Combat Seasonal Depression – Tip #6
Never ever forget about self-care. It is extremely important and forgetting about it over the winter months can be a leading cause of seasonal depression worsening.
Make sure you are practicing self-care every single day without fail. Whenever you get a spare moment, do something for you.
Set reminders on your phone or put post-it notes around your bedroom if you struggle and need those extra reminders. It needs to become a habit and a part of your life no matter what the time of year.
You will feel so much better mentally and your seasonal depression won’t know what hit it once you get into a routine.
Combat Seasonal Depression – Tip #7
Fight your negative thoughts
Depression of any kind can cause so many negative thoughts to manifest. Sometimes, it’s difficult to push them away and escape them. That’s why you need to find a way to fight those self critical thoughts and combat your seasonal depression in the process.
There are many ways you can do this. I absolutely love journaling and arguing with my negative thoughts on paper. My favourite technique is one that I learned in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy where you come up with alternative thoughts and change the way your brain works over time.
I even made a workbook so you can do this yourself every time one of those thoughts tries to sneak in.
Combat Seasonal Depression – Tip #8
8. Let the sunlight in.
Natural light can help to combat seasonal depression more than you may think. All it takes is opening your blinds or curtains during the day.
Sunlight can actually help to increase your brain’s serotonin which is what makes us feel happy. The more sunlight you let in, the higher your mood and the less likely your seasonal depression will overcome you.
I’m not saying you need to go out sunbathing in the middle of winter or book a holiday to Australia. Not at all. Just don’t sit in a dark room all day. It’s no good for your mental health.
Combat Seasonal Depression – #9
Make sure to keep yourself healthy. This can link with a lot of the above as exercise, self care and getting plenty of vitamin D all contribute to keeping yourself healthy.
However, during the winter months and especially after the holidays, it’s so easy for your diet to go down the drain. I got so much chocolate over Christmas, don’t know about you? Not eating healthy can contribute to seasonal depression and make it worse.
That’s why it’s very important to make sure you are still having your 5 a day no matter how much chocolate you need to eat.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect and it’s so easy to go a day without eating as healthy as you should. But definitely try to make it a focus for 2021. I know I will.
You’re ready to combat seasonal depression!
Now you know how to combat your seasonal depression. You will never have to worry about it taking over your mind and your life again. Just take my advice, and do your best to implement it over the period when you usually suffer.
Don’t forget to sign up and get your FREE Fighting Self-Critical Thoughts Workbook to help you abolish those winter blues.
Do you suffer from seasonal depression? What season affects you the most? Let me know in the comments.