Seasonal depression, also commonly referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder or S.A.D., is a mental condition that affects many people but is often misunderstood. It is estimated that about 5% of the U.S. population suffers from seasonal depression every year, and even more experience a milder form of the condition.
This condition typically affects people around the same time every year, manifesting in fall and continuing into the winter months. It can impede a person’s ability to perform daily tasks and severely impact their mood.
If you suffer from seasonal depression, there are techniques and methods you can do at home to help alleviate symptoms. Here are a few options to consider.
Not only does regular exercise promote general health, it can also help alleviate seasonal depression. One cause of S.A.D. is diminishing sunlight, so exercising near a window or outside, if weather permits, can be effective in overcoming S.A.D. Exercises such as tai chi or yoga that enhance the mind-body connection may also help.
Use Sunlight Simulators
Since waning sunlight is a common cause of seasonal depression, simulating the sight and feeling of sunlight can be effective coping technique. One way to do this is with a lightbox, which will create artificial sunlight which you can place on a table or desk. Another option is to use a dawn simulator, which wakes you up by gradually increasing light in the room, just as the sun would do at dawn.
Research has discovered a link between low levels of vitamin D and seasonal depression. Additionally, the changing seasons can alter levels of regulatory chemicals in the brain such as melatonin and serotonin. Regular supplements can help combat these issues. Before taking supplements, however, it is important to consult a physician first.
Certain essential oils, such as lavender or peppermint, have qualities to calm anxiety, alleviate depression, and potentially boost energy. A common way to use these and other essential oils is adding them to a hot bath before bed.
Start a Journal
Feelings and depressed thoughts are sometimes easier to cope with when you write them down on paper. If you are someone who keeps records of your daily life (career tasks, school work, etc.), consider setting aside 20 minutes to write out your thoughts, feelings, and concerns. This can help you express your experience and could potentially help you identify other effective coping techniques for seasonal depression.
Take a Vacation
If you suffer from seasonal depression, everyday pressures such as work and other social obligations may only become more stressful and overwhelming. If you are able, consider taking a vacation to someplace warm and sunny. Time away from everyday stressors could be extremely effective in lifting your daily mood.
Seek Professional Help
Finding a treatment center or licensed therapist is always a recommended course of action. Do your research on programs offered near you and ensure that they employ holistic practices to help clients overcome seasonal depression. Just remember that you do not need to tackle your condition alone and help is available.
Seasonal depression is a condition which affects millions of people every year. There is no shame in admitting you need help and seeking therapy. The therapists at High Focus Centers have extensive experience utilizing therapy techniques and alleviating seasonal depression. Contact our office today to learn more and find a treatment center near you.