5 Strategies for Coping With Seasonal Depression

For many of us, the end of the summer can have a significant negative effect on our moods. If the colder months, gray skies, and reduced number of sunlight hours leave you feeling unmotivated, dejected, and struggling to feel excited about anything, you may well be suffering from seasonal depression. Whether you are suffering from clinical Seasonal Affective Disorder or just a tendency to feel the “winter blues” (note: seasonal depression usually starts in the fall and ends in the spring, but in less common cases it can be the opposite and strike during the summer), you are probably looking for strategies to cope with this.

In this guide, we have listed five strategies for coping with seasonal depression, whether mild or debilitating. There are many treatment options available for depression, from nutrient injection therapy to cognitive behavioral therapy and antidepressant medication. It is important to remember that you should consult your doctor or a medical professional before trying new medications, or if you feel unable to cope on your own.

Supplements

There are various over-the-counter supplements that can be useful at reducing the symptoms of seasonal depression. Many of these are available at most health stores. Supplements like 5-HTP, L-tryptophan, and St. John’s Wort can increase levels of serotonin, the hormone largely responsible for feelings of wellbeing and healthy sleep patterns. Melatonin and Vitamin D, chemicals that are usually produced in lower levels by the body during the darker months, can also be taken as supplements. Consult your doctor before trying any new supplement, especially if you are already on prescription medication or have long-term health conditions.

Exercise

Getting regular exercise is essential for mental health as well as physical health. Exercise boosts hormones that affect every process in your body, including thought processes. If it is too cold outside to go for a jog, signing up to a gym can help. Another benefit of scheduling in regular exercise is creating a routine. Regular routines are great for promoting healthy sleeping patterns and boosting the mood.

Healthy diet

There is increasing evidence that what happens in the gut hugely affects what happens in the brain. As well as boosting your physical health, following a healthy diet can help your mental health. Getting plenty of vitamins, eating healthy amounts of food, and avoiding unhealthy products like saturated fats, sugars, and alcohol can help keep your moods in check.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is not just a set of breathing techniques. Practicing mindfulness is a process that you can use in every situation and aspect of life. Mindfulness involves learning how to notice your thoughts without judging them. Understanding that your mind will constantly experience the passage of different thoughts and that you do not have to act on them can be an effective tool for combatting depression.

Full-spectrum lighting

Because mood-boosting natural chemicals like Vitamin D and melatonin are increased by exposure to sunlight, the darker months often lead to a reduction in these chemicals, and a lower mood. Full-spectrum lighting, which includes bulbs and lamps, is designed to include every color on the spectrum and produce these chemicals in the same way that natural sunlight does. Replacing traditional artificial lighting with full-spectrum lighting can help boost your mood in the fall and winter.

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