The leaves are changing, the scent of pumpkin-spice has started to fill the air, and it’s cold enough to comfortably curl up in a sweater. It’s official- it’s spooky season! While there are so many fantastic things that come with Fall, like discounted candy and the release of new horror movies, Fall also brings dread to those who deal with seasonal depression.
What is seasonal depression?
Seasonal affective disorder, appropriately acronymed SAD, is the medical term for seasonal depression. SAD usually occurs during the fall and winter months.
Some symptoms include:
● Low energy
● Losing interest in activities or friends
● Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
● Feelings of hopelessness, sadness, or guilt
SADS is often caused by the change in the amount of sunlight that we get in the fall and winter. The decreased levels of sunlight can disrupt the body’s natural internal clock, which often contributes to issues with sleep and increased feelings of depression. Less sunlight may also cause decreased serotonin levels, which also triggers depression.
Tips for Seasonal Depression
While it may feel very discouraging to experience seasonal depression or depression of any kind, there are a couple of things that can be done in order to help combat it. Hopefully with some of these tips, you can enjoy the fall a little bit more.
It is important to note that if you are struggling with seasonal depression or suspect that you may be struggling with a depressive disorder, it is important to consult a physician or a
psychiatrist. These suggestions are not meant to replace treatment. Please take care of yourself, there is no shame at all in asking for help.
1. Light up your life
a) Phototherapy boxes are little devices that give off a bright artificial light that mimics sunshine. They are often recommended to people who suffer from seasonal depression.
b) If possible, try to keep the blinds open during the day so that you can get some natural light.
c) Dawn simulators are another form of light therapy. They are little alarm clocks that give off light that gradually become brighter.
a. Having a solid sleep schedule makes a huge difference.
b. If you like to exercise, planning an exercise/workout routine might prove to be useful and keep you motivated and excited about it!
3. Self Care
a. Treat yourself- Go ahead, you deserve it!
Routine is important but so is spontaneity. Try doing something nice for yourself, even if it is something small. Once a week, if you have the energy, try to take some time for yourself. This could be re-watching your favourite movie, ordering some food or cooking one of your favourite meals, getting dressed up to go nowhere, etc.
b. Make sure that you are getting enough to eat and drinking plenty of water! Incorporating a supplement such as Vitamin D into your diet may help with some of the sun deficiency caused by the changing weather (Of course, consult your physician before taking supplements).
c. Mindfulness – Even if you don’t enjoy meditation, mindfulness is a great tool for when you are feeling disconnected. Taking a couple of minutes when you first wake up to take in your environment and recognizing yourself in the present might help you feel a little bit more grounded.
4. Let it out
a. Times may be difficult but you don’t have to be alone. If you are able to do so, try calling or texting a friend.
b. Journaling is another good way to vent if you don’t feel like talking to somebody else. There are a lot of fun ways to journal as well. Author Keri Smith has a lot of fun, guided journals like “Wreck-it Journal”.
You’re going to be okay, and you will make it through this. The seasons will change, and so will you. Most importantly, be kind to yourself and try to remind yourself that it is okay that you are going through this.
Be safe and enjoy the rest of October! (At the very least, take advantage of the discounted candy prices after Halloween).