What is Seasonal Depression?
As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, fighting to get through the days can seem impossible. Seasonal Depression starts to creep into our lives, leaving us struggling to get to the end of the year. Without knowing a lot about Seasonal Depression (SAD) or how it’s best managed can be harmful to your health and also effect other areas of your life.
For those who may not know what Seasonal Depression is, The Cleveland Clinic defines it as;
“Seasonal depression, often called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a depression that occurs each year at the same time, usually starting in fall, worsening in winter, and ending in spring. It is more than just “the winter blues” or “cabin fever.” A rare form of SAD, known as “summer depression,” begins in late spring or early summer and ends in fall.”
Seasonal Depression is different for everyone and can vary person-to-person. Although symptoms and severity can change depending on the person, it’s important to know that Seasonal Depression is actually very common. You don’t have to have chronic or any other type of depression regularly to experience the seasonal depression. Recognizing when you’re experiencing symptoms and learning to cope with them can help with extreme emotional tides. Being able to move past those feelings can help prevent emotional overloads, at home and at work.
Tips and Tricks for Coping
- Get Some Fresh Air: Taking breaks is actual really good for your work. Stepping out into the cool air is a perfect way to clear you mind and recharge.
- Let in Some Light: Natural light is like gold during the colder seasons. Even though it’s cloudy most of the time, non-florescent lighting is good for the eyes and the soul. It also contains Vitamin D which is an important nutrient for your body and immune system.
- Talk To Someone: Whether you talk to a friend or a counselor, sitting down and letting someone know how you’re feeling will take a huge weight off your shoulders. Personally, I think everyone should talk to a counselor. Being able to sit and talk things through your feelings with an outside party will be helpful. That’s why counselors are such a great option!
- Exercise: Getting a little bit of exercise in can be the missing ingredient when it comes to fighting off seasonal depression. I like to go on short walks. It doesn’t need to be a crazy hard workout or a really intense run, just enough movement to get your blood pumping and your joints moving. It will clear your mind and get your endorphins flowing.
- Make Time For You: No one really takes enough time for themselves, anymore. With so much to do and constantly being plugged-in to a device, it can be difficult to stop and take time for you. But even taking a few extra minutes in the shower or sitting in your car with the radio turned off (or up) allows you time to recover.
How I Deal With My Seasonal Depression
Blame it on the shorter days or colder weather, but seasonal depression and productivity don’t mix. It’s hard to find the motivation to get things done when all you want to do is grab a blanket and hide under your desk. The two main tricks I use are (1.) Listening to a Summer music playlist and (2). Working from a device I can move with. I tend to listen to more Jimmy Buffet in the winter than I do in any other season. It just lifts my spirits and focuses my thoughts. Additionally, working from my laptop also helps boost my productivity. Being able to move around and away from my desk is enough of a change to keep things fresh.
Along with my productivity, there is one other aspect of my job that takes a hard hit in the colder seasons. Now I can’t speak for others, but I know that for me, one of the things that gets hit hardest by seasonal depression is my creativity. When everything around me looks “blah” so does my work. It can be hard to pump out new ideas and get them done in a timely manner because I know that they could be better. One of the ways I combat my creative block each season is to be next to windows as much as I can. Even if it’s completely disgusting outside, the natural light tends to breathe life back into me and my work. It’s different for everyone though, so identifying you symptoms and choosing actions that overcome them takes courage and diligence.
For more on Seasonal Depression (SAD), check out The Cleveland Clinic’s website.