When comes to Seasonal disorders and how to beat winter depression I am a novice, in more than one way.
You see, for all of my depressive symptoms I never really looked into these “winter blues” seriously.
I always thoughts that People were just looking at the weather and were getting gloomy because of the sudden lack of sunlight.
Furthermore, when looking into statistics the comparison between California’s 1.4% vs Alaska’s 9.9% of people going through these “winter blues” only seemed to affirm my suspicion at the time of it being nothing more than a ‘feeling’ of depression.
I believed that people who went through these winter blues weren’t having it as bad as I am, yet the more I researched the less right my ideas seemed.
As it turns out, there’s this little-known type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which was categorized as a “season-based variable” rather than its own disorder in modern psychiatry journals.
When reviewing the topic, out of my own curiosity, I noticed it.
At first, I was all like “Huh” (Hey, I was depressed okay?), but then it made a bit more sense to me.
Sure, getting depressed over the weather wasn’t exactly something I ever considered, but I once got depressed over a dead bird I saw at the park (the angst is real), so I figured I don’t really have any right to judge anyone.
Instead, I chose to take some time to myself and research the subject in depth, maybe I would come up with dome specific advice or some general discoveries that would be worthwhile, I was always a bit of a nerd in that sense.
And you know what? I actually did find a lot of stuff that proved to be worth my while, some of it specifically helpful for all those winter blues, and some discoveries were universal.
You learn something new every day, am I right?
So without further ado, here’s my 4-step plan on how to beat winter depression!
1) Get outside
A recurring pattern during winter is that people don’t spend as much time outside as they should.
Now, I’m not telling you to go outside when it’s raining or snowing, but spending as much time as you can outdoors is highly beneficial for your mental health, even research says so!
I get how being stuck in your house because it’s raining all day is a perfectly legitimate reason, I really do.
Heck, there’s nothing I would like more than to sit a day out by myself during this weather.
The fact is that you disconnect yourself from your surroundings only makes it worse, believe it or not.
Leave your house, go outside, meet up with some friends, go to a party and remember to thank me later.
Heck, there’s plenty of beauty to see in the winter, so instead of staying in your cozy room and sulking to yourself go and travel around, bring some friends with you.
The memories and experiences will leave you happy and fulfilled for years to come.
I actually came up with that conclusion when I noticed how walking in nothing but my thin undershirt during -2 degrees Celsius seemed to be my most fondly memorable times from my days in the military, and upon research, others expressed similar feelings.
2) Don’t forget your vitamins!
Winter actually bring a whole different slew of problems by itself, all the while eliminating others.
Sure, you might sweat less, avoid getting a heat stroke or just chill for a change (pun fully intended), but nothing in this world is perfect.
Aside from getting a cold or going through specific allergies, you tend to lack in other perimeters.
As you should know, your diet and eating habits tend to work their way onto your depression.
But there’s more to it than that.
Not too long ago I heard someone use the phrase “Vitamin D – D stands for depression”, and as it turns out – he was right!
Lower levels of vitamin D are some of the listed causes of depression, true story. And one of the main sources of vitamin D (if no the main source) is sunlight.
Yep, your exposure to sunlight does, in fact, play a vital role in your current condition.
This was actually the piece of info that made me write this entire article to begin with.
Here’s the deal: You don’t receive enough sunlight, you don’t get enough vitamin D, you start developing depressive symptoms until you do.
Among all of the steps listed here, I think that this one is the most vital when it comes to directly treating your condition.
So what should you do?
Well, you could invest into supplements to solve your problems, or you could re-balance your diet.
What do I mean by that? Fatty fish, tuna, mushrooms, orange juice, egg yolk, and beef liver all contain lots and lots of vitamin D in them, so simply eating more of these should do the trick.
Even if you are a vegan or vegetarian you could simply eat oranges, they are just as good as any of the other animal products that I have listed here.
3) Don’t fall into harmful patterns and habits
When push comes to shove, people tend to do whatever they feel comfortable doing.
And that’s why I need to stress this out even more – Don’t do things just because you are depressed!
I feel like this is an important thing to cover since people who go through seasonal depression are less experienced dealing with the symptoms.
Wake up every day earlier, even though you got one more hour to sleep.
Exercise, even if you are feeling broken.
Eat a balanced breakfast, even if it fills like you are pouring concrete down your throat.
Suffering from depression doesn’t make those basic necessities “unnecessary” all of a sudden, you are still human after all.
You see, when you are depressed the symptoms of your condition tend to change certain things about you, like your eating and sleeping habits.
So instead of going around and suffering through all of these difficult symptoms, you should do anything in your power to change the way you think and feel.
And there is no better way to do that than to change your daily habits.
It may seem complicated, but what it really means is that you should look into the symptoms of depression and start actively acting against them one by one.
Although the most favorable thing to do would be to eliminate the source of your depression it really isn’t possible, so this piece of advice is the next best thing.
For further reading make sure to check my article about habits.
4) Be positive and live your life
As loyal readers would know, I normally don’t give such fluffy advice on my website, it goes against my firm belief in psychology and brain research, yet considering the temporary nature of winter depression I felt like I had to mention it at the very least.
Plus, this piece of advice isn’t just a “be positive” kind of thing either.
Alright, so what do I actually mean by that?
Here’s the truth, depression pushes you away from people and slows down your life, correct? So in return simply remember that your condition is purely temporary and that it will pass by itself over time.
That one simple reminder is a technique meant to control your thoughts, simply block out any negative thoughts by reminding yourself that your feeling right now isn’t real and that it will pass.
Chant it whenever the thought surfaces.
In the meanwhile do yourself a favor and don’t stop living you life just because you feel terrible at the moment, that’s the biggest mistake you can make.
You don’t need to feel happy to enjoy yourself, you need to enjoy yourself to feel happy.
This actually might seem obvious when you think about it, but the fact that you are still sulking in your room instead of being with your friends and family is enough of an indication to prove that this isn’t something that you are actually putting into practice, right?
The fact that the color of the sky affects you so much is kind of scary when you think about it.
But you need to remember that that’s all it is, nothing more than a dark day.
Winter is the season of rest, nature is slumbering for now, only to rise anew in the spring.
This feeling of yours is current and does not promise you any type of future.
No, the future is going to be brighter, I promise.
So while you are here, here’s a quick question for you – how did you deal with your winter blues? Did you just wait for them to pass or did you live your life normally?
A tad long there, I know, but I would love to here from you so make sure to post your answers in the comment section below, I read every single one of them.
If you got any personal questions you would like to ask me you should know that I am always available on my email, so just make sure to email me and I will reply to you as soon as possible.