Helpful hints for dealing with seasonal depression

Snow storm in rural Kansas on Dec.15, 2019. (Jordan Koster | Collegian Media Group)

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that typically occurs during the wintertime — days become shorter and the amount of sunlight decreases. More commonly known as seasonal depression, SAD can impact a person’s sleep schedule, appetite and overall mood. It can take a toll on someone’s personal life, school work and their job.

While there is no surefire way to get rid of SAD, there are things that might help combat it.

1. Exercising

Committing to a regular exercise routine can do wonders when dealing with seasonal depression. Exercising boosts the number of feel-good brain chemicals, such as endorphins and serotonin, that are being released in the body. It can also help improve other things like self-esteem and sleep schedule. Exercises that can work against depression include running, swimming and weight lifting.

2. Eating right

Symptoms of seasonal depression can often lead to craving unhealthy and sugary foods — which is the opposite of what the body needs. Eating well-balanced meals that contain fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins can help maintain a healthy energy level throughout the day.

3. Getting more sunlight

Since a lack of sunlight contributes to the development of seasonal depression, getting outside is a necessity. The sun can help boost serotonin levels and improve a person’s overall mood. Going for a walk or playing an outdoor sport with friends can help increase sun exposure. Opening blinds and drapes to increase the amount of sunlight throughout the home is another viable option.

4. Taking a break

Dealing with seasonal depression can be taxing, and dealing with it while having to keep up with classes, work or other obligations can make it even tougher. Taking a mental health break is often much needed and can be very beneficial. Focusing on well-being is critical.

5. Seeking medical help

SAD is a form of depression, and it can be diagnosed by a doctor. They will be able determine what the best treatment route is. A doctor might recommend therapy or antidepressants. It is important to be proactive and seek treatment before symptoms of SAD escalate.