While the winter months can be a time of happiness, hot chocolate and holiday cheer for some, other individuals can face a lot of dread. With the nights getting longer and cold air pushing us indoors, winter can also conjure up persistent feelings of seasonal depression for a lot of people. Does this happen to you? If so, read on to find out what is going on and ways to cope.
Depression is not always brought about by major catastrophes in our lives. In cases such as the above, the changes brought to our bodies by the shifting seasons can bring on these intense feelings. Defined in the DSM-5 as Seasonal Affective Disorder, these mood changes are typically marked by the same feelings as normal depressive episodes but only occur during specific seasonal boundaries. As for why this happens, the specific cause is not known, although there are some theories. From offsets in internal clocks to lowered levels of serotonin, the causes vary but the treatments remain relatively the same.
Don’t relegate these feelings as a case of winter blues. If you feel like you are suffering from depression you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible for more options. Until then, there are some easy things you can do to help.
1. Bundle up and take a short walk when you can. The fresh air does help a lot.
2. Take a vitamin D supplement. The lack of sunlight could lead to a deficiency.
3. Try to engage in social activities when you can, no matter how minor.
4. Keep the rooms in your house lit when you can. This is not a substitute for sunlight, but it can help somewhat.
All of these tips can make a dent in this disorder, but they are not cures. A visit to your doctor or a counselor is always a good idea.