Depression is one of those diseases that people suffer through silently. I want to break the silence and talk about depression and seasonal depression in a real way.
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I opened up this year about my battle with mental illness HERE. In the Winter, my depression takes a different turn due to the weather in the PNW. The days are darker, the weather is gloomier, and the sun barely shines. I have dealt with this for years but never addressed it until I was in high school.
Seasonal depression is a real thing. Even if you aren’t struggling with depression itself, you can feel the effects of seasonal depression. Especially if you live in an area where the Winters are dark. There are many symptoms that go along with seasonal depression that you may not realize.
These symptoms include:
heaviness in your body
oversleeping or the feeling of needing more sleep
cravings for carbs
If any of these things ring a bell for you, it’s ok. Seasonal depression isn’t something to stress out about, trust me, that will just make it worse. I have found some things that have really helped me through this each year and I hope it helps you or helps someone you know.
Exercise: Even when it’s cold out, bundle up and take a short walk. This boosts your serotonin which in turn will boost your mood. I have done yoga DVD’s and set up simple small routines to do inside.
Environment: Making your home and environment feel brighter is a huge one. I took out all dark accents in my house, especially my bedroom, to create a brighter feel. This helped so much in the Winter. My walls are white, in fact, my entire bedroom is white so it reflects any and all sunlight. Decorating with fresh and clean colors also creates a brighter feel in your home. This is also why I love to wear white in the Winter! I don’t always want to wear dark clothing if I am struggling with seasonal depression.
Supplements: I take a really good vitamin d supplement. Not the brand you get from a drug store, the brands you get from a natural food store. This means you are getting a stronger dose and one that will not have fillers that could inhibit you absorbing the supplement. I also try and take melatonin when I am struggling to go to sleep at a decent time. If I give into my night owl tendencies, then I way oversleep into the day. Vitamin C is also a great supplement to be taking.
Friends: Take the time to get together with friends. Get out of the house, even if you work full time. It’s important to socialize in the Winter. This helps on all levels of being a human.
Sun: *This is not for everyone! I have found when I am really deep in my depression, especially seasonal depression, spending a few minutes in a tanning bed (covering my face) helps to boost my bodies serotonin development. I will do this once a week for a couple weeks and then stop. It’s a more natural way for me to help my body produce what it needs.
Seasonal depression is nothing to be ashamed of. It has taken me so long to come to terms with my mental illness battle along side of the times of year it progressively gets worse. Taking the time to understand your body and know when it needs help it is important. Remember, one day at a time.