Tips for Dealing with Clinical/Seasonal Depression

Hello hello fellow leaf-jumpers and cider-drinkers,

Despite the 70 degree weather we had there for a bit, I think it’s safe to say that fall, and soon winter, are most definitely upon us.  One of the most tangible signs of this is the darkness that now creeps in at only 5:00pm and shrouds the campus in shadow.  With this change in daylight, some of you may have also been noticing a change in mood.  This could be Seasonal Depression, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is incredibly common, affecting millions of people in the United States alone.  Below are some tips to deal with Seasonal Depression, which incidentally all apply to non-Seasonal Depression as well.

  1. Light therapy can be super helpful for coping with SAD.  SAD is induced by the shortening of the days and the corresponding lack of light, so faking longer days with a light box can reduce the effects of SAD.  This tip may seem a little specific to SAD, but soaking up some sunlight is an excellent way to combat depression as well.  
  2. Diet and exercise.  This may sound overused and trite, but the endorphins from exercising and the vitamins and nutrients from eating healthily truly will help you feel better.  Are they a cure for depression? No. But they certainly can’t hurt.
  3. If possible, going somewhere sunny in the middle of the winter (not necessarily somewhere warm) will help break up the long winter and ease the effects of depression.
  4. Seasonal Affective Disorder may carry a stigma of being somehow less legit or less chemical than Clinical Depression, but that is simply not true.  SAD is caused by changes in the levels of serotonin in your brain, making it every bit as legit as Clinical Depression.  In fact, if symptoms of either type of depression stick around, see a doctor.  Talk therapy and medication are both viable options for treating both Seasonal Depression and Clinical Depression.
  5. Mindfulness and/or meditation.  Since common symptoms of depression include panic, anxiety, preoccupation with a toxic topic, etc, meditation can be a great way to center yourself and shift your focus to something more positive.

Good luck adjusting to the change of seasons! Here are a few things to look forward to this winter: hot chocolate, fires, hot chocolate by the fire, warm fuzzy socks, oversized sweaters, warm hugs, cuddling, pretty snowflakes, sledding, skiing, snow days.

 

“Good humor is a tonic for mind and body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens human burdens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment.”  –Grenville Kleiser

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