It’s the time of year when winter seems like it will never end. It’s constantly cloudy, often snowing, and so, so cold. Seasonal depression is a real thing, and this is the time of year that it starts to get bad for some people, myself included. People start to feel trapped, like nothing will ever change. It feels like anything bad in life will just always be there and there is nothing anyone can do to fix it.
I myself am dealing with some seasonal depression right now. I didn’t write a blog post last week because of it. Luke and I spent most of the week working on my mental health. Today I want to share with you guys some of the ways to battle seasonal depression. This is by no means an exhaustive list of ideas, but hopefully it will get you started.
Keep Yourself Busy
One of best ways to beat mild depression (or anxiety) is to stay busy. When you’re depressed, your natural tendency is to sit in front of a TV, or lie in bed all day. You’re mentally exhausted and you assume that “resting” is going to help with that. But, as Newton’s Law states, “an object in motion stays in motion” and “an object at rest stays at rest”.
Though it may seem counter-intuitive, the best way to feel better when you’re mentally exhausted is to find something to keep you busy. Something that helps me is cleaning the house. I open all the blinds, I turn on some music, and I wash dishes.
Cooking or crafting are also great ways to stay busy. Find something you usually enjoy, even if you’re not really interested in it at the moment. Just forcing yourself to get started is sometimes the hardest part. Once you’re occupying your hands, you’ll usually notice that your mind starts to calm down and things don’t seem so terrible anymore.
Eat Regular Meals
As I talked about in my previous blog post, eating regular meals is a huge part of staying healthy mentally. Your physical health has a large impact on your mental health. Eating can feel like a huge effort when you’re in a bad head space, but I promise it will make you feel so much better.
Make sure you are eating real, healthy meals. Not cookies. Not a handful of crackers. Actually get up from the couch and make a real meal. Make sure you include a healthy variety of foods in your diet, and always be sure you’re eating enough fruits and vegetables. When your body is not being fed good food, it is harder for it to produce the natural chemicals that keep you happy.
That being said, don’t deprive yourself of foods you like! Eating shouldn’t be a chore, and everything can be good in moderation!
Set a Bedtime and/or Morning Routine
Every night before we go to bed, Luke and I clean up the house and do a short bible study. Having a good bedtime routine helps your body wind down before bed, and helps you to get a better night’s sleep. Getting enough sleep is crucial when you’re fighting seasonal depression. Try to come up with your own routine before bedtime every night. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just something to help you relax and prepare your body for sleep.
Personally, I haven’t found morning routines to be super helpful with my seasonal depression. (My morning routine consists of getting out of bed fifteen minutes before I have to leave for work, throwing on clothes and running out the door.) Luke, however, has a great morning routine that he has found super beneficial. Here are his thoughts on it:
“For me, since every morning is a new start to each day, it’s vital to use the morning to get yourself grounded, focused, and ready for the day. My morning routine isn’t long; I simply shower, get dressed, and read a book for 10-15 minutes before I leave the house for work. But just doing a few simple things in the same order each day helps me to feel refreshed and ready to face whatever the day brings. Rushing out the door 10 minutes after waking up, cereal bar in hand, just doesn’t cut it for me.”
It is also a good idea to go to bed and get up at roughly the same time every day. Your body runs on an internal clock, and setting a specific time to go to bed and get up means your body will get used to sleeping at that time. This will increase your sleep quality and help you to feel more rested.
As I mentioned, a healthy mind requires a healthy body. Even if just for a few minutes a day, regularly exercising has a large impact on seasonal depression and anxiety. It’s a huge stress reducer, it helps you sleep better, and it makes you feel more accomplished. Luke and I exercise every evening a couple hours after dinner, and it has been a big part of helping me deal with my seasonal depression.
If you’re looking for somewhere to get started, Blogilates is a great YouTube channel. Cassie has short videos that take you through exercises you can do on your living room floor. She also includes modifications for those of us who struggle to do the advanced exercises. Luke and I are doing her 30 Day 100 Ab Challenge right now, and it takes us about ten minutes every night.
If yoga is more your thing, Yoga with Adriene is a great place to start. She has lots of videos of varying length and difficulty. Her yoga exercises are very relaxing and easy to follow, even for beginners, and her voice is very calming.
If you have any other YouTube channels you use for workouts, please let me know in the comments!
Talk to Someone About Your Seasonal Depression
The last tip I have is to talk to someone about how you are feeling. One of the worst things you can do at anytime is internalize all your negative feelings. God created us to be social beings, and to need the support of other people. Sometimes just talking to someone else about how you’re feeling can help you sort through every thing and feel a million times better.
How Do You Deal with Seasonal Depression?
What do you do when you’re struggling with seasonal depression, or perhaps just depression in general? I am always looking for new ways to improve my mental health and would love to hear some ideas from you all! Share your tips with us in the comments.
Until next week,
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