How to naturally fight seasonal depression
A few ways on how to naturally fight seasonal depression are to get active, intake fresh air daily and eat high quality foods. Seasonal depression is also commonly known as seasonal affective dissorder. Seasonal depression is most commonly felt during the Fall and Winter months, often being noticed as summer transitions to fall.
Here is How to naturally fight seasonal depression: 9 Tips.
In this blog I am going to share with some insight on what seasonal depression is. And ways it can affect you, what the winter blues feel like and finally end it with 9 tips on how to combat your seasonal depression.
Having to navigate through the gloom of fall into winter has always been a struggle for me. The days get shorter, the rainy periods are longer, and the temperature drops.
These changes in the environment can lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) has been around ever since changes in seasons have been occurring. Yet only in the last years have the effects been more discussed in mental health discussions.
Unfortunately, that is not the only silent adversary we must face. With the introduction of the Covid-19 pandemic, the need to stay healthy through winter and the flu season has amplified.
For these winter wellness tips, I am going to focus on the three pillars of mental health, physical health and healthy eating, that have been a guiding light for own my seasonal depression.
If you are in a relationship and unsure of how to deal with the depression and not have it affect your partner, we created this blog post with 15 tips for a healthy relationship for those who feel depressed.
**Disclaimer, I am not a doctor. These are only suggestions on ways to live a healthier life so you can feel happier. Giving yourself the best chance of staying in a mentally and physically positive place this winter.
What is Seasonal Depression
Seasonal depression is a form of depression that happens when the seasons change, usually from summer to winter. There are cases of this occurring also from winter to summer; yet, this is less common. The effects that most people feel are loss of energy, more emotional, lack of sleep and depression.
COVID And Flu Season
With the colder days and lack of sunlight, our immune system drops in the winter months. Here are a few winter health tips to stop unwanted germs from entering your body, and fight them off faster if they do.
Wash your hands
Even with the memories of our moms yelling at us as kids as we go to leave the washroom, “Wash your hands Timmy!”. A recent study done by Wateraid.org found out that 4/5 people do not wash their hands after using the toilet.
With the weather turning for the worse, we will be spending more time inside. Carve out time daily to wipe down all countertops and surfaces in the parts of your house you spend the most time. And once a week, do a full clean of your place of living.
Online doctors appointment
A silver lining to this year is the technology advances — one of those being the ability to see a doctor online. Before heading in to see your physician, search “Online Doctor Appointment” to see what is available for you.
What are the causes of seasonal depression
These weather changes play a role in seasonal depression:
- The sun rises later (waking in darkness for months)
- the sun sets earlier (In the PNW, you go to work and leave in the dark)
- Colder temperatures make for more time inside (less fresh air/ more cabin fever)
Who is at risk of seasonal depression
Are you unsure if you are at risk? Seasonal affective disorder (seasonal depression) effects females 4x more than men. However, as males are less likely to open up about their struggles, they are more likely to struggle in silence. Youth are more likely to be affected with 20-30 years olds most common.
Seasonal Depression Symptoms
Seasonal depression can affect you in many different ways, and it doesn’t not affect everyone exactly the same way. From feeling lethargic to constantly depressed here are 5 signs of seasonal depression:
- No desire to get out of bed
- Loss of energy levels in your day
- Eating sugary foods often for a quick energy boost
- Not feeling rested after a full night’s sleep
- Feeling socially distant, not wanting to see people
How to naturally fight seasonal depression: 9 Tips
Take a moment today and put one of these tips to use. There is no need to plan out your attack for many of these. Go ahead and pick one that seems achievable for you right now, perhaps go for a walk or click the links below and buy your SAD Light for light therapy today.
If you feel your depression has been around since summer check out our post that dives into the most common depression symptoms with tips to ease each one of them.
Keep your social bubble
Keeping with the safety protocols during the COVID pandemic. Our safety bubbles can not only keep us safe from disease but can help with our winter health.
Keep your bubble close and find new things to do together this fall. The days of having drinks in your backyard are over. But catching up for a fall walk or taking the sights of winter can help you curb the loneliness of the season.
Seasonal Depression Lamp
Living in the Pacific Northwest, I am familiar with the depressing effects of the lack of sunlight from short days. Add onto that 165 days of rain and 100+ more of cloud cover, and you have the trifecta for seasonal affective disorder. Other names that can be used online are a light box, SAD lamp, SAD light and depression light.
What time of day should I use light therapy?
There is no specific time that everyone agrees on; however, most companies and therapists suggest doing it first thing in the morning. Adding a second time in front of your lamp midday if you feel low can also positively affect your mental health.
Can you use a SAD light too much?
Even though a SAD light can seem harmless, you should consider how much you use it in one day. Most professionals agree that one time use of 20-30 minutes in the morning is enough. Too much exposure can create adverse effects.
What is the best SAD light?
Accept that SAD is occurring
No matter how dutiful you are in taking care of your body and mind, you are only human, and life happens. Don’t get down on yourself if you can’t get through a day; these days will occur. You are not the only one fighting this battle; there are millions just like you.
If these feelings occur for more extended periods than a day or a few weeks, then you should reach out to a professional for help. Talk to your doctor and contact a therapist for a session. They are there to help you.
Get 8+ hours of sleep a night
Getting a proper 8 hours of sleep is a core starting point for our health concerns, physical or mental. When you sleep for 8 hours or more without having alcohol or drugs in your system, our bodies can heal. This sleep resets and prepares our brains for the next day. Read our post on creating the perfect evening routine for your mental health help.
5 ways to get a better sleep tonight
- Stop looking at your phone/computer/tv 45 minutes before lights out
- Exercise for 60 minutes that day
- Meditate for 5-20 minutes before bed
- Don’t eat high carb high sugar meals before bed
- Set goals for the day and cross them all off (feelings of achievement help settle our brains)
Drink 2l of water
Most of us think of summer as the time that we need to focus on staying hydrated. However, we lose much water throughout our day as we raise our body temperatures to fight off the cold. As well, keeping our bodies saturated helps with digestion and brain function. Two areas that when not running optimally, can be the leading areas of depression.
Eat healthy foods
What you ingest has a more significant effect on your mental health than you think. When eating heavily processed, saturated fats, incomplete carb and high sugar foods, we get instant gratification. However, that lasts only a few minutes, while the next hours can leave you anxious as your body tries to digest it.
By eating vitamin-rich dense greens, complete carbs and natural fats, we can leave our body in a happy place.
The ability to break these foods down is easier. Unlike processed foods where the is a high percentage of un-useable food.
It may be that happiness bump you want, but is it worth it for the crash to come right after?
Getting 60 minutes of activity a day has proven to release endorphins in our bodies. These endorphins only happen from exerting ourselves; they positively affect our brain.
Exercising doesn’t have to be a daunting word for you. Something as small as going for a walk in nature or your neighborhood will suffice.
I suggest you plan your daily workouts on your calendar on Sunday. That way, you won’t be able to find excuses on how you forgot to do it one day.
Get 30 minutes of fresh air
Even though the outdoors is the main reason for our feeling low, it can help us fight SAD. You want to stay indoors where you are warm and dry, but doing this for extended periods will affect you.
Those same effects of ‘cabin fever’ will start appearing after a while, leaving you pent up with frustration and depression. To fight this, find 30 minutes each day to step outdoors, breathe in the fresh air and get some natural light.
You can pair this with your daily exercises to knock two things off your to-do list.
How will you fight seasonal depression this year?
Once you notice it, seasonal depression seems to be inevitable as the summer months turns to fall. One way to combat depression symptoms and sombre mood of the cold wet weather is to move to a warm climate year round.
However that is not an option for most of us.
How will you fight seasonal depression this year? Leave a comment below to help others feel not alone in this battle.