It’s officially fall and almost winter, which means that the phenomenon known as seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is beginning to manifest. Welcome back to my blog, and for blog number 19, I will write about seasonal depression and how to mitigate it or even hopefully prevent it.
What exactly is seasonal depression? In my own words, seasonal depression is essentially the state of feeling depressed, or more depressed or sadder than normal during the fall and winter because of the lower temperatures and darker or less brighter days. Seasonal depression is commonly known to some as the “fall blues” or “winter blues”.
I personally experienced seasonal depression during my first winter as a college student at the University of Notre Dame. It hit me suddenly in the month of December, just as finals were approaching. I became sad and despondent for the majority of the time, and was not able to function normally. It was not until I was hospitalized for a little over a week and prescribed antidepressants that I no longer felt negatively affected by my seasonal depression.
Seasonal depression is definitely preventable or able to be mitigated, and here are some tips that I have to help you all reading this blog.
The first piece of advice I have for you to avoid seasonal depression is to exercise frequently, if not daily. Cardio exercise is great because during it, you are much more likely to release endorphins that naturally make you feel good. The more endorphins you release, the less likely you are to feel sad or be depressed. And I will always stress that staying in good physical shape will lead to good mental health because good mental health results in and from good physical health.
Another piece of advice that I have is to try to get outside and enjoy the sunshine as much as possible. Naturally, light will make you generally feel less sad or depressed. Some doctors recommend light therapy from lamps that produce light while you sleep or sit at a desk while working. Personally, I would consult with a doctor before purchasing or using any lamp that generates light for you. A caveat that I have for bipolar people is that it is known that these lamps can potentially cause mania. There is no point in trying to cure seasonal depression via lamp therapy if it causes mania, which can be extremely harmful.
Sleeping well is another way to combat seasonal depression. If you tend to sleep less or poorly, your chances of feeling depressed or anxious, which can ultimately lead to feeling depressed, will increase greatly. Consistently getting a good night’s sleep will help you combat seasonal depression and depression in general.
Antidepressants will definitely make you feel less sad or depressed, but you cannot take them unless they are prescribed by a psychiatrist. All medications have side effects, so it is best to avoid them at all costs, unless the seasonal depression is a severe case and your psychiatrist prescribes them for you to take.
Being social and interacting with loved ones or friends can help you overcome seasonal depression or the fall or winter “blues”. By spending more time with those who are close to you, you naturally feel happier and less sad or depressed. You don’t have to necessarily hang out with your friends or family members if you don’t have time; a simple phone call or FaceTime will work as well.
In short, thank you for reading my blog on seasonal depression and how to mitigate it or even hopefully prevent it. I hope I have raised awareness about seasonal depression. If you have any questions about seasonal depression or any of my other blog posts, do not hesitate to email me at: email@example.com. Also, if you would like to receive email notifications about further blogs that I will post, please subscribe via email at the bottom of the home page. In addition, please share my blog site with friends and family!