How I Am Going to Combat Seasonal Depression This Year
I am a person that cringes when people say Fall is their favorite season. Why would the weather turning cold and us being so close to winter have such an exciting effect on people? I ask this but then I realize I have to feel that way in order to combat my seasonal depression. From when I was in grammar school I always felt 'different' when fall started and winter was close approaching. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real thing. Even thinking about fall/winter I picture my house in this dark space. It's not right so here I am this year trying to combat this thing that's been creeping up so soon. Mine usually starts in August/September because I know summer is winding down so I figured now would be a good time to share.
What I'm going to do this year differently than I have before.
1. Be excited for the Fall/Winter
Yes I'm literally going to try to trick myself into liking fall and winter. I'm going to still imagine a sunny blue sky even though temps might be cooler. I'm going to try to be excited for Halloween and Thanksgiving when usually I dread it. I am going to be excited for Christmas and the 3 months left of winter I have after that. I've already made a list of things I want to do this winter which moves on to my next step!
2. Make plans for the winter days like you would in the summer.
I hope to come up with way more plans as the winter in Chicago is like 6 months long...Please comment some ideas down below! My plans I have so far are:
A. to go skiing and spend a night or weekend at a resort in Wisconsin/Michigan wherever near Chicago.
B. see a Broadway show (bought tickets for Wicked recently. woo!)
C. Ice skate ad the John Hancock (had no idea they had this)
D. Go sledding (and act like a child)
3. Use a light box
I bought one in 2014 and have been using it since. I use it in the morning for like 15 minutes (I believe you are suppose to use it for 30 but I don't have that much time!) and just have it placed next to me shining at the side of my face. You don't want to look directly at it because you wouldn't do that to the sun. It's a light form that is supposed to make you feel like sunshine is on you and is supposed to brighten your energy and mentality up.
HAPPY LIGHT (yes it's literally called that)
4. Use a dawn simulator
I just started using one of these last year and it actually is so nice to have. I linked the one I have. They are a bit pricey but for someone like me who battles with SAD (seasonal affective disorder) I think it's worth it. It wakes you up slowly like the sun would instead of you getting up to your alarm in the complete darkness.
5. Exercise as I do in the summer
Exercising boosts serotonin and makes you happier so in a time where you're not as excited, this will work. I plan on doing it just as much as I do in the summer.
6. Stick to a schedule
This is one of the important moves to make. My therapist even mentioned this and to stick to the same schedule you had in the summer (switch it up a little if you have to) It basically means to still cook dinner after work if you usually do that, workout after work if you usually do that, watch your favorite shows if you usually do that, plan a happy hour with friends and don't cancel just because its snowy and messy! Because if you just go home after work and pretend like you can't do anything in the winter, then you're letting it affect you.
7. Take a vacation to somewhere warm
I live by this. I planned a trip to Puerto Vallarta this December during my 2 week off break from work for the holidays and I have never been so excited. I did book it in May because I knew everything would just keep going up in price. I took a warm trip in 2015 January to Cayman Islands as well and it really helped me having something to look forward to and especially looking forward to real sunlight and not my light box. I booked Puerto Vallarta on CheapCarribean.com because everywhere was so expensive!
8. Vitamin D Supplements
If you haven't seen my Vitamin post I'll link it here but I have such bad SAD last year and the reason being is that I was so low in Vitamin D. I highly recommend you take supplements once you get checked by your doctor because most people have a Vitamin D deficiency in the Midwest and it messes with your mood. One of the symptons is depression.
9. Anti Depressants
If your SAD is very bad, I would see a doctor and ask them if you need medicine because the winter shouldn't be taking away from your life.
I hope this helps someone because it even helped me writing about this and made me positive that there are so many other ways to work on SAD. Good luck and let's stay positive!