Surviving Seasonal Depression
● By Alesha Damerville
By Alesha Damerville
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – The transition from fall to winter has begun. Daylight saving time rears its ugly face yet again, and it feels like it's pitch black by five o'clock. While many people may love this time of year, a good portion of us are praying that the demon of seasonal depression skips over us this year.
Depression is very common, affecting more than three million people a year, ranging from ages 14-60+. When the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer, the symptoms of depression are often escalated.
If you find in late fall/early winter that…
-your energy feels depleted
-you feel agitated
-you have trouble concentrating
-you have problems sleeping
-you feel hopeless or worthless
-you lose interest in activities you normally take joy in participating in
-you feel depressed most of the day
YOU are not alone.
While there is plenty of literature out there with suggestions on how to kick seasonal depression, I'm here to share tips and tricks that have worked for me.
While it may seem like an obvious suggestion, it truly works for seasonal depression as well as other forms of depression. I recommend going in the morning before you start the rest of your day. Get it out of the way! Fighting exhaustion is hard enough when you have seasonal depression. Not only will this boost your energy, but it will eliminate the excuse to skip because you're too tired after working all day.
Cuddle an Animal
Finding housing that allows pets is difficult here in Steamboat, so if you are lucky enough to have a spot that allows pets, hug yours. Don't have a pet? Don't worry, there are options. Visit your favorite pet owned by one of your friends. Volunteer to read to cats or walk dogs at the Routt County Humane Society. Many pets are blessed with great temperament, and spending time with them allows you to absorb that good energy.
Take a hike. Can't take a hike? Take a walk around the block. Any time you spend outdoors is rejuvenating. Some countries believe spending as many hours outdoors as possible is the best way to live the happiest life. In fact, the Norwegians went as far as to coin a term to describe this practice. The friluftslivfirst made its appearance in 1859. Simply put, it means “free-air life” and signifies the healing effects of nature. It's been working for people for over 160 years, and I bet it will work for you also.
Write It Down
Journaling is freeing because it helps clear the mind. Take the time to journal daily, and be sure to include what you’re thankful for. Whatever you do, try to avoid taking your negativity out on others – it only leaves you feeling worse.
Hopefully these suggestions make your battle with seasonal depression a non-existent one. In the upcoming blog posts, we will feature fun activities to keep you busy and your mind from wandering into dark places.
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