coping with seasonal depression

Understanding Seasonal Depression & How to Fight Back Against It

Do you often find yourself feeling extremely sad during one or more of the seasons each year? Have you ever questioned why this happens? Fortunately, you are not alone. Many individuals undergo what is called seasonal depression, which is a type of depressive order of seasonal depression that can cause abrupt mood changes, tiredness, and more. For most people, they will encounter seasonal depression during the autumn and winter.

Seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a common mental disorder that occurs due to a change in seasons. Those with SAD begin to feel moody and tired from the beginning of fall to the end of winter or spring until the end of summer. 

Signs and Symptoms of Seasonal Depression:

According to the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of SAD can differ based on which season it occurs, which can be the following:

  • Loss of interest in activities you once loved
  • Feeling fatigued 
  • Sleeping issues
  • Feelings of hopelessness or guilt 
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Changes in weight or appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Constant feelings of agitation or anxiety

Symptoms relating to spring depression include:

  • Insomnia
  • Weight loss
  • Unhealthy eating habits
  • Irritability or anxiety

Symptoms specific to winter depression include:

  • Weight gain
  • Constant tiredness
  • Sleeping too much
  • Change in appetite

    Risk factors

    With SAD, multiple risk factors can contribute to developing the mental disorder, which is listed below.

    • Women are more likely to develop SAD than men
    • Family history of SAD or other depressive disorders
    • Young people (teens and adults) are more likely to develop SAD, though it decreases with age
    • Individuals who live significantly far from the equator (north or south) have an increased risk of obtaining SAD

    How to bounce back against Seasonal Depression

    While it may seem difficult to overcome SAD, there are various ways to manage it. 

    Listed below are some suggestions on how you can fight back seasonal depression (via (Everyday Health). 

    • Exercise: Engaging in physical activity is shown to alleviate symptoms of most depressive disorders. Whether it’s going for a walk with your pup or visiting your local gym to hop on the treadmill, exercising can help boost your mood. 
    • Bring in the sunshine!: Take advantage of natural sunlight’s benefits by opening the blinds or just stepping outside—this is one of the preferred methods for those with winter seasonal depression.
    • Have a schedule: Staying organized can be great if you have troubling sleeping each night. Set a time to get in bed every night to help alleviate symptoms of SAD.
    • Write in a journal: Whenever you’re feeling down, write down your thoughts, feelings, and worries in a journal, or write them on your phone. Journaling can help remove those negative feelings that are keeping you down. Try to write in your journal right before bed, as it will allow you to reflect upon your day.
    • Seek professional help: You should always seek help from a healthcare professional who can fully assess any health problems you may have. A mental health professional can assist with correctly diagnosing your condition to determine if you suffer from SAD. 

    Anyone who has dealt with or is currently dealing with a mental illness knows how hard it can be, but that doesn’t mean you can’t strive for good mental and physical health. 

    Even if you’re not suffering from any form of depression or mental disorder, these tips can still be helpful to you!

      Resources for help

      If you or someone you know is depicting signs of a mental illness or considering suicide, please speak to a healthcare professional or someone you trust immediately.

      Here are some hotlines you can access 24/7 to seek help.

      United Kingdom National Suicide Hotline: 08457909090

      Additional Hotlines:

      Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM): 0800 58 58 58

      SOS Suicide of Silence: 0300 1020 505

      Shout Crisis Text Line: Text “SHOUT” to 85258