One of my best friends actually requested this post. Since I deal with the effects of this condition on a daily basis, I thought it appropriate to write about it.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (most appropriately abbreviated SAD), is a condition that is characterized by depression that occurs at the same time every year. You don’t have to be diagnosed with clinical depression in order to suffer from SAD, though many people with clinical depression are affected by it.
I, personally, am one of the demographic who suffers from depression on top of the seasonal effects.
I guess in order to truly understand SAD, you need to know what causes it. SAD is caused by a change in the amount of sunlight (and the chemicals given by sunlight) throughout the course of a season. It causes a drop in serotonin, among other chemicals that affect mood and focus.
Over time I have learned quite a few methods of dealing with my depression, and while I may not have it completely under control (as it is a chemical imbalance and you have to take it day by day) I have discovered a couple of sure-fire ways to at least feel better.
1. Go outside as much as you can
I get it! I get it! When you feel depressed the last thing you’d ever want to do is go outside but hear me out. Sunlight can help SAD because it creates the chemical that you are lacking when SAD is affecting you. *shocked gasping all around* Now, I’m not saying that you have to go out and run a mile or something, but bundle up (since it’s winter and it’s cold) and go for a walk. Or just go outside for ten minutes. You’d be surprised how much better a little sunlight can make you feel in such a short amount of time.
I know I just said that I wasn’t telling you to run a mile, but honestly? Physical activity is amazing for depression. And it’s possible to make it fun! If you have a gaming system then play an active game (Just Dance, Wii Sports, etc.) Or just search for your favorite songs on YouTube and dance around a bit. Getting your blood flowing will not only make you feel better, but it will also warm you up if you feel cold.
3. Maintain a Routine
I cannot stress this enough. Get up early. Don’t stay up late. Do your homework. Go do your normal activities. You’re going to want nothing more than to just curl up in bed and sleep but that does no good. Plus, if you fall behind on your schedule then you’ll feel worse in the long run.
Take. Care. Of. Your. Self. This is something that I struggle with, and certain people may struggle with it as well. But you have to take care of yourselves, loves. I know it’s hard but you have to eat. You have to brush your hair. You have to shower. The less you take care of your own needs, the worse you will feel overall (because, let’s be honest. Who feels great when they’re hungry and dirty?).
Take a night off from all forms of social media, even texting. Just turn your phone off, for that matter. Your friends can wait until the morning for you to text them back. Instagram can wait. Snapchat can wait. You would be surprised how much better just unplugging for a night can make you feel.
6. Keep up your hobbies
Keep going to your book-club. Keep taking pictures. Keep drawing. Do whatever you enjoy to do regularly. Doing things that you like to do will help relieve stress and also make you feel happier because you’re having fun.
7. Have a “me” night
Not a “me” night, obviously (I’m great but i’m not that great). But a “you” night. Break out the scented candles, watch a movie, turn off your phone, snuggle up under a warm blanket (if you have any pets, they make great companions), and just relax. And if you’re looking for something to watch, Stranger Things is pretty good so far.
8. Just keep on
Remember, it does get better. No matter what you are going through, whether it’s just a bit of winter-blues or the worst depression of your life. It can only get better. And if you need someone to talk to, I’m here for you.
If none of this works for you, then you may need to seek out some sort of medical help. A licensed professional can help you figure out if it’s just SAD or something deeper, and can help you treat it. Whether that is through light therapy, counseling, or medication.
I really hope that this post can help someone. I am by no means a professional but these are just some things that have worked for me before. As previously stated, I’m here if any of you ever need me. Just hit me up through one of my Socials or in the comments and we can work something out.