8 Ways to Deal with Depression During the Gloomy Days of Winter
Major Depressive Disorder with a
(formerly known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD) is most common during the winter months. The condition is a response to the reduced amount of sunlight many experience in winter.
Giving back to the community
can boost your mood and satisfaction
. You can find volunteer opportunities through local community organizations, like NAMI Lake County, or support someone you know - like a neighbor!
Walk in Nature
On a sunny or even snowy, cold day, bundle up and go for a walk. Embrace the small things around you like the birds chirping or crunching snow under your feet. Take some time to absorb the warm sunlight whenever possible. Take frequent deep breaths and enjoy the moment you have with nature.
Reading is a great indoor activity to feel better. Reading books stimulates you, enables you to think creatively, improves concentration, and increases vocabulary and knowledge. A few recommended readings are Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson, The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown and Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Be Kind to Yourself
Be easy on yourself and try to let go of small things that stress you out or bring you down. Do something nice for yourself whether it’s a nice warm bath, facials, manicure/pedicure, exercise or even just taking a nap.
Journaling is a way to release your thoughts on paper without judgment.
You can journal as much or as little as you want.
If you are having a stressful day at work or school, it’s an easy way to vent your feelings.
Stay Healthy and Hydrated
As always, being healthy is very important throughout the year. Make sure you eat the daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. Staying hydrated during the cold months can be challenging, but your body needs water to function properly so staying hydrated is crucially important.
Join A Peer Support Group
A big part of depression is isolation. It is important to surround yourself with the people who help you feel connected. Peer support groups are helpful because you can share experiences with people without any judgment.
Make a Happy Jar
The Happy Jar is filled with post-it notes of happy moments that you have each day. Creating a Happy Jar can significantly help mood and outlook on life. You can even implement it with a peer support group as a way to remind members of their happy moments and thoughts when they were going through difficult times.