As temperatures fall going into the winter season, seasonal depression – also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder – rises among young people.
Seasonal depression can start as early as teenage years, however it most commonly begins among individuals in their early twenties. Once someone experiences seasonal depression, it frequently returns at the same time every year. With that being said, here are ways to prevent and aid seasonal depression.
Keep the light on.
The leading cause of seasonal depression is the lack of sunlight. Take opportunity of the daytime sun by opening curtains to allow sunlight into the home and taking time in the mornings to be outside in the sun. When it is dark, do not be afraid to turn many lights on throughout the house to keep everything bright. Consider adding more sources of lights including candles, Christmas lights or plug-ins.
Exercise is known to alleviate the symptoms of many mental health struggles, and seasonal depression is among those. Seasonal depression first attacks the mood of a person, while exercise fights to relieve those negative moods. Set aside time to go on outdoor walks or, as a student at Tech, take advantage of free access to the fitness center.
Be outdoors during the fall.
Prepare your mind for the seasonal change by engaging in outdoor activities early in the fall season and continuing to spend time outdoors even as the weather gets colder. Being outside in the sun while participating in activities such as exercise and being with friends allows your mind to find enjoyment while the temperature cools.
Establish a sleep schedule.
One of the most common symptoms and struggles among individuals with seasonal depression is having trouble sleeping. Once again, start early in the fall season and establish a sleep schedule allowing yourself eight hours of sleep a night. Maintaining a sleep schedule improves quality and quantity of sleep.
Pick up a hobby. Consider journaling.
Now is a good time to begin that hobby you have been wanting to try. Find a hobby that brings joy and allows you to express yourself. Journaling is one of the most common ways of doing this. However, any form of creative expression greatly improves a person’s mood. So pick up the journal, or the sewing kit, hiking boots, baking pan, or whatever your new hobby may be.
Positivity and mindfulness
Mental health is exactly that. It is mental and it is a health concern. In the same way you would take actions, and even medicine, to fight any physical health diseases, do the same for this mental health disease. The antidote for a negative mood is a positive mindset. Practicing a positive mindset begins with being kind to yourself. It involves practicing gratitude, keeping a can-do attitude, and ends with being kind to others
Watch you’re watching.
What you put into your mind is what you will get out of it. Watch what you are watching on screens and listening to. If you continually put negative things into your mind and listen to depressing music or watch depressing shows, it will cause you to be more vulnerable to depression. To keep a positive mindset, try gatekeeping what goes into your mind.
Reach out to a friend or a professional.
If you find yourself falling victim to seasonal depression, reach out to a friend or a professional. You are not alone, and you do not have to feel this way for long. At Tech’s Counseling Center, there are many people who are available and want to help you. Never hesitate to call the Eagle Eye After Hours Crisis Hotline anytime at 1-855-206-8997.
Seasonal depression affects many people and is often established in college students. Take these actions to prevent and assist the fight against seasonal depression, and always remember you never fight alone.