I don’t like admitting it because there’s a stigma that goes along with it, but I suffer severe seasonal depression. I live in a place that gets cloudy in the winter too, which makes it even worse. But over the years, I’ve developed ways to help combat that depression and keep feeling awesome throughout the year.
1. Having a routine sleep cycle.
I go to bed at 10 and wake at 6. In the middle of the day, I nap for about an hour. One of the major causes of depression is erratic sleeping. Going to bed and rising at the same time definitely helps. It’s also good to turn off your TV and devices an hour before bed. Ready a book instead of surfing the web.
Meditation is an excellent way to combat depression. Mindful meditation has been proven to effectively treat anxiety and other mood disorders too. Spend 30 minutes a day sitting quietly in meditation. Turn off the phone and the computer. Close your eyes. Focus on your breathing.
3. Get your B vitamins.
Consuming plenty of B-12 and other B vitamins help produce serotonin, epinephrine, and dopamine, all of which affect mood. People who don’t eat meat are more likely to develop issues with vitamin B-12. If you don’t eat meat, consider a supplement just to make sure you’re getting what you need.
4. Set goals.
It helps to keep your eye on the prize, so to speak. Setting goals for yourself keeps you looking and moving forward. It helps maintain the right attitude and combat depression.
5. Try new hobbies.
Two winters ago was my worst bout with seasonal depression, in part because of the season and in part because of a shit breakup. What did I do? I found new things I loved. I added hiking and playing pool to my list of hobbies. It really helped.
6. Get out and exercise.
The weather’s getting cold (if you’re in the northern hemisphere at least) but it’s still important to get out and get that heart beating. Go for a brisk walk or a nice, long hike. Exercise releases “feel good” hormones in the body.
Find new ways to relax. Take a hot bath or visit a spa. Do things that you normally love doing. Depression tends to disconnect us from that which we enjoy. Relax in ways to love.