Stay on Top of Your Seasonal Depression This Year

Fiona Caywood, Arts and Entertainment editor

What is seasonal depression? 

Seasonal depression is a kind of depression that is triggered by changing of season, also known as the “winter blues.” Seasonal depression is a quite common issue, especially among high school and college females. Seventy-five percent of people who experience seasonal depression are women. It can be tremendously difficult to deal with, but there are several good coping techniques that can help you stay happy and healthy through these next few months. 

One effective way to keep your mind happy is to set aside time to do things you enjoy. It is extremely easy to let yourself get into a slump as the weather gets cold. Allot time in your day to do things you like to do. Consider doing something that requires physical activity, rather than just sitting on your couch. Physical activity has proven to boost your mood and is also a great way to keep your body healthy during these cold months. 

Another great way to help boost your mood is to stay involved in social activities. Don’t shut yourself off from the world as you start to shut yourself in from the wintry weather. Stay connected with friends and family. Try and go out and do something occasionally, but don’t push yourself if you get uncomfortable. Your social battery will die quicker while experiencing seasonal depression and it is extremely easy to get burned out fast. Keep in touch with the people who make you happy, even if that means just going for coffee or a simple FaceTime call.  

A common symptom of seasonal depression is sleep disturbance. You may begin to feel getting up in the morning and staying conscious at school become increasingly difficult. You can address this by creating a set schedule that you follow every day. Set time aside for school, extracurriculars, work, or any other activities you have going on. Also include at least eight hours of sleep in this schedule, as getting a good night’s sleep is the most important thing to do to help boost your mood and productivity. 

Going outside and getting fresh air and sunlight, or even just opening your blinds on a bright winter day can help ease symptoms and brighten you up. Indoor lighting is much dimmer and duller than the real deal. When it comes to light, you need to get the name brand. Take a walk after school or on weekends. If you are too busy to take a walk, set up a nook next to a window where you can sit and do your homework. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrated Health states that low levels of vitamin D are quite common with people who experience seasonal depression. Luckily, this is an easy fix; get some sun. 

Lastly, keeping a journal is always a reliable way to help with depression. Journaling helps keep your thoughts organized. It is also a great way to better understand your thoughts and feelings. It’s easy for your thoughts to become overwhelming and spitting them up onto paper can help lift that weight off your shoulders. It also can help you narrow down the triggers of your depression. There are no rules, rubrics, or guidelines to journaling. Anyone can do it however they want to. Keep a daily log, write letters to yourself, talk about your problems or joys, or simply just write down your thoughts on whatever it is that comes to mind. Creating a stronger relationship with your mind is the most crucial step in curing your depression. 

While all of these techniques can help ease your depression, none of them are cures. If you feel as though your depression is too detrimental to be helped by any of these techniques, consider talking to a trusted adult, like a parent or guardian, or one of our guidance counselors. Stay strong through these gloomy days and take it one day at a time. You got this.