Tough Stuff

How to cope with seasonal depression

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The holiday season is upon us and even though everyone is getting into the festive spirit, the winter is often when people find themselves feeling down, or not quite their usual selves. These mood changes in the shorter (and colder) season can be a sign of seasonal affective disorder, also known as seasonal depression. Although you might want to be feeling the holiday cheer, it's totally okay if you aren't. 

Those who experience seasonal depression usually start experiencing symptoms every year at the same time. You may start feeling like you have low energy, mood swings, apathy, or lose interest in things you usually enjoy. It's also common for those suffering from seasonal depression to socially withdraw. We get it. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, you're encouraged to socially distance, and you *def* should still keep yourself safe, but if you're virtually ghosting your friends, it may be a sign that you're experiencing seasonal depression. 

Even though you might be feeling like the only thing you want to do is crawl into your bed and sleep, we have easy ways you can cope with the "winter blues." 

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Maintain a routine 

Even the little things can make a huge difference. Sticking to a routine can help alleviate feeling lost or hopeless. Make sure you have time for self-care in your schedule!

Spend time outside

Seasonal depression is often linked to light deprivation, and going for a walk or run outside allows you to experience some daylight as well as supply endorphins from the exercise. We know it's a little chilly, so bundle up and explore the winter decorations in your area. 

Start journaling 

Writing down how you feel can help you let go of some of your negative emotions. It doesn't have to be a novel, just share a little about your day—things that made you happy and things that maybe didn't go so well. 

Treat yourself

Self-care is *so* important. Put on your favorite playlist, indulge in your favorite candy or drink and curl up in your fuzzy PJ's for some relaxation. 

Light therapy

Light therapy lamps give off a calming artaficial light that mimics natural light and can brighten your mood, lessening seasonal depression symptoms. You can get one for your bedroom or workspace without breaking the bank here. 

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You don't have to be full of cheer this holiday season, just remind yourself that what you're feeling is totally normal and that eventually this will pass. Find mental health resources here. 

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by Abigail Adams | 12/4/2020