Daylight savings is in full effect. You might be glad of the extra hour of sleep, until you notice it getting dark by 4pm and weather drop significantly. These are just a few of the factors that cause seasonal depression among many of us. Know you are not a lot though and there are ways to fight seasonal depression on your own.
The same as other major depression disorders, exercise can help alleviate many of the symptoms because of the happy hormones released in the act. Try exercising outdoors if the weather permits, even if it's just a walk, otherwise choose a machine in the room close to a window. This can be as simple of a workout such as yoga. As long as you're moving, it will help offset depressive thoughts, while also offsetting weight gain that is common with this seasonal disorder.
Let The Sunlight In
Since the sun is only out for a limited amount of time, it's crucial to take advantage of those hours. If you have seasonal depression, get outside as much as you can during the day and spend some time in the sunlight. This can be a short stroll around the block, leaving to get lunch on your break, or taking some time to yourself to sit and either read or write. Just be sure to bundle up since the weather is colder! Even when you're indoors, you'll want to keep your blinds open to let as much natural light in as possible and spend time in bright environments. If you need extra assistance, you can invest in light therapy boxes. These give off a brighter light that mimics sunshine and can help in the recovery from seasonal affective disorder. Similarly, you can also try dawn simulators, which are devices are gentle alarm clocks. Rather than waking you abruptly with loud music or beeping, they produce light that gradually increases in intensity - just like the sun.
Add Aromatherapy & A Journal
If you want to take a more natural take with your seasonal disorder, then consider essential oils. Aromatherapy can influence the area of the brain that's responsible for controlling moods, the body's internal clock, sleep, and appetite. Adding just a few drops of essential oils of your choice to your bath, drink, diffuser, or skin can help you relax. Essential oils from the poplar tree in particular were found to help depressive disorders, so it's worth giving a shot. Another easy trick to ease seasonal depression is to keep a journal. Writing down your thoughts can have a positive effect on your mood, and help you get some of your negative feelings out of your system. Plan to write just for 10-15 minutes most days of the week, and be sure to document your thoughts, feelings, and concerns at the end of each day.
Stick To A Schedule
People who live with seasonal depression often have trouble sleeping at night and getting up in the morning. Therefore, maintaining a regular schedule improves sleep, which can help alleviate symptoms of seasonal depression. It's important to keep a regular schedule and expose yourself to light at consistent and predictable times. You also want to eat at regular intervals to help watch your diet and not overeat, which can lead to weight gain in the winter. Be sure to be proactive and have a packed, tight schedule in winter so you have little time to crawl back into bed.
If you're still experiencing seasonal depression and need additional help, please consult your doctor to explore other options that may work for me. Common treatments can also include therapy, anti-depressants, or Vitamin D supplements.