Seasonal Depression is no joke. It is something my sister and I have dealt with our whole entire lives and something that millions of Americans deal with every year. As the sun sets earlier and days get colder it can feel like your bed has a stronger gravitational pull than normal. Not to mention you begin having more down days than up days. As someone that always struggles this time of year with my depression and moods I try my hardest to get ahead of the curve and get into good habits early in the fall season. This is just another reason #workITout is so important to me and making sure people don’t give into their seasonal depression. There is a way to #workITout and in the end we can beat seasonal depression, naturally!
So here are my TOP 5 Things to help with seasonal depression:
1- Sun Lamp/ Therapy Light/ SAD light
Growing up I was very fortunate that my mom was very proactive during the fall/ winter season. My sisters therapist recommended that we go on amazon and purchase a SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) light , at first we thought this was hokey but, we gave it a try anyway. So every morning before school, my sister and I would wake up, go upstairs to the kitchen, and sit in front of the sun lamp for about 15 minutes while we ate breakfast. When I say we saw results almost instantly in our moods and emotions… I mean next day results! It is scientifically proven that in the winter time we lack Vitamin D which is provided by the sun and helps release endorphins that help improve your mood. SAD lights are also medically proven Light Treatment Devices that are designed to treat the root cause of SAD (lack of sunlight). I’m not saying this works for everyone but sunlight is something that is imperative for everyone and to this day I use my SAD light and it truly helps motivate me, improve my mood and keeps me from feeling down. What I love about our lamp is that it has different intensities depending on how long you will be sitting in front of it. I personally put mine on a low setting while doing homework because I know I will be in front of it for a long period of time, instead of like in the morning when I use a high intensity because I need the boost to get my day started!
Here is the Link to the**** Light Therapy Lamp****
2- Daily Routines
During the Fall/ Winter it is so easy to get out of your routine. You just want to come home from a cold day, curl up on the couch, get nice and toasty and put on some Netflix… NO! What happened to the rest of your day? It is only six O’clock, not ten! You still have time to study, go to the gym and more importantly take care of your mental health. When it gets dark so early I find myself yawning at six and asking myself if it is time for bed yet. Although I fall victim to my bed sometimes I try my best to stay out of my room and away from my couch. There is plenty of time in the day still for productivity, which is why it is so important to keep a daily routine in the winter time. Try your hardest to stick to your routines even if you really do not want to. Make a To-Do list and crush it!
3- Get Moving
Something else I try to employ is working out at least 3 times a week during the Winter months. Not only does this keep the winter fluff off, but it helps with all kinds of depression, simply because working out releases TONS of feel-good endorphins. Not only does this help improve your mood, but it makes you feel more confident in yourself and your abilities. Getting active helps you cope in a healthy way and is something that allows you to positively manage your depression. When I say exercise, I am not saying go and run a mile, do a intense workout, or be some kind of body builder but focus on your mind and body! One of my favorite ways to get active in the winter time is through yoga. It allows me to focus on my body and my mind, connecting all of the dots and helps release all of my pent up negative energy by focusing on my breathing.
THE BEST PART… YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TO LEAVE YOUR HOUSE!!!!
Check out these simple quick ten minute yoga sessions on youtube!
Here is the link: ****Ten Minute Yoga****
4- Aromatherapy/ Motivational Quotes
To go in-depth about every essential oil that helps with seasonal depression requires a whole other blog post, so I’ll link the article I found with a list and each of their benefits to seasonal depression because some are stimulating oils and others are calming oils for SAD. What I love about Essential Oils are their natural healing properties. You can put them in your book bag or purse and apply them as you need them. Another property I love is putting them in my bath, especially lavender. Putting a few drops in your bath is a great way to not only heal your body but your mind. I also recommend a diffuser for essential oils. My roommates and I have one in our living room, that way when we do homework all together we have a relaxing aroma surrounding us and giving us positive vibes.
Motivational Quotes are a must for me during the winter. I do my best to keep them on my lock screen to remind myself that I am strong, I am capable and that God would never give me a battle that I couldn’t fight. It is so important to not get inside of your own head and to get out of bed in the mornings. Also, my dad always had us write 5 things we loved about ourselves and stick them on the mirror. Go ahead and give it a try, I promise you won’t regret it!
5- Talk To Your Doctor
There is no shame in going and asking for help. In fact, you should always go and talk to your doctor. They can help get you on the right track and help recommend going to see a therapist, or give advice on what they think would work best for you. Asking for help is the best thing you can do, because you are never alone in your feelings. You are never alone in your battle. You are never alone. There is always someone ready to listen and ready to help. Stick out your hand and I promise someone will be there to grab it and help you through any and every situation.
It is time that we talk about depression, it is time we stop being ashamed, it is time to make a change, defeat the stigma, and raise your voice because it is time for it to be heard. At the end of the day Seasonal Depression can be scary, but it is how we handle it and get ahead of the symptoms. Ask for help and take positive steps forward, because we can #workITout together… every.single.time.
Grace Madeline Dirig