How to Cope with Seasonal Depression

December 06, 2022 by Connections Health Solutions

As the weather turns cold and skies turn gray, people may begin experiencing symptoms of seasonal depression. It can make this time of year difficult, but fortunately there are ways to manage depression. Here are ways to cope with seasonal depression.


What is Seasonal Depression?

Seasonal depression, officially known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a type of depression that occurs during seasonal changes. For most people with SAD, symptoms are noticeable during late fall and winter, then go away during the spring and summer. However, people can also experience symptoms during the warmer months instead of colder months. Symptoms of SAD include feeling sad or hopeless, losing interest in activities you typically enjoy, having low energy, craving high-carb foods, sleeping too much, gaining weight, and finding it difficult to concentrate.[i]

 

How to Cope with Seasonal Depression

There are many ways to cope with seasonal depression, including healthy activities you can try at home. Talking with a healthcare professional can also be helpful when it’s difficult to manage symptoms on your own.

 

Get More Sunlight

Sunlight can improve your mood, so try to spend time outside when you can. Even if it’s too cold to go outside much, you can open your blinds to let light into your home, and sit close to windows when possible. You can also try light therapy, which involves spending time every morning in front of a special bright light. The light is designed to mimic natural light and help boost your mood.

 

Exercise Regularly

Physical activity helps relieve anxiety and stress by releasing endorphins and helping you focus on something other than what’s causing you worry.

 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that can teach you how to identify and change negative behaviors and thoughts into healthy behaviors and thoughts, as well as manage stress and cope with SAD in a healthy way.

 

Set Realistic Expectations

When experiencing seasonal depression, it may be difficult to do as much as you can when not dealing with SAD. Find activities you enjoy, but try not to overdo it. Break big items on your to-do list into smaller, more easily achievable tasks. Remind yourself that it’s ok to not be as productive as usual and remember that you will feel better over time. 

 

See a Health Care Professional

A doctor can discuss your symptoms with you and suggest ways to cope with SAD. If they think you’ll benefit from medication for depression, they can prescribe antidepressants. If you feel depressed or down for days on end, don’t feel motivated to do activities you enjoy, or are having thoughts of suicide, talk to a doctor or mental health professional. 

 

For individuals experiencing a mental health or behavioral health crisis, seek help immediately. If you’re in Phoenix or Tucson, AZ, visit a Connections Health Solutions facility for psychiatric care. Our centers are open 24/7 and provide a safe place for people to seek professional, non-judgmental help.


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