How to avoid seasonal depression

Learn different techniques that can help reduce the effects of seasonal depression.

Seasonal depression. It’s common, it’s annoying, and it’s something we all wish we could just toss to the side as we’re trying to get that last bit of homework done. It’s probably one of the reasons I procrastinated while writing this article. Seasonal depression occurs when you feel a certain feeling of sadness, fatigue, and social withdrawal during a specific time each year. For many, seasonal depression arrives around winter. As someone who has to deal with the adverse effects of it, I want to offer my two-cents on how to deal with it or how to avoid it in the first place.

Seasonal Depression | Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

 Before I begin, I just want to remind you that if you are going through a serious mental struggle right now, or just need someone to talk to, reach out. The amazing thing about our high school is that even if you’re too anxious to talk to a peer about your problems, LM has supportive counselors who can help you out. They won’t reduce your problems down to “laziness,” an “overreaction,” or make you feel embarrassed about opening up. Getting help is hard, but taking the first step and asking someone for help is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Also, definitely communicate with your parents and ask for professional help if you think you need it.

That being said, here are some of the ways I think you can deal with seasonal depression:

  1. Good lighting:
    1. My room is so dark in the winter time. Before I got a new lamp in my room, I constantly felt gloomy. A lot of people probably have the same problem and thankfully, there are many solutions for it. You could sit in the brightest part of your house, but if you’re like me and you hate leaving your room, the best thing to do is get a new lamp or think about investing in some white light bulbs. White light is good at imitating natural light. 
  2. Staying warm:
    1. Doing things like eating hot food, wearing layers of sweaters, putting on heat lamps, definitely goes a longer way than you think. There have been multiple studies showing that being cold only makes depressive symptoms worse. Get into the habit of drinking hot beverages and learn to reward yourself by taking a hot bath. I personally invested in a small space heater and found that it does a great job 
  3. Do things that make you happy:
    1. Whenever I feel sad, I always get advice telling me to “keep myself occupied with something.” I interpret this as a sign for me to do homework, but maybe it just means I should be doing something that I actually enjoy. Whether that be watching a movie, listening to music, or even learning a new hobby: keeping yourself busy with something you like is super beneficial. If you don’t know what to watch, I recommend looking into Studio Ghibli movies. They’re relaxing and never fail to make me extremely happy. My favorites are Spirited Away (2001), Howl’s Moving Castle (2004), and Whisper of The Heart (1995).  
  4. Keep in touch with your friends:
    1. Being socially distant will only make you feel worse. In today’s climate, it might be hard to attend social gatherings, but keeping in touch with friends via text is a good way to start.                                                                   
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