If you’ve noticed yourself feeling less than stellar during the coldest, darkest months of the year, you aren’t alone. Each year, millions of people feel the effects of seasonal affective disorder, a syndrome characterized by increased depression and anxiety that occurs during the winter months and can’t be explained by any other cause. Since you can’t do much about the weather, you might think there isn’t much to do about your depression. Fortunately, there are plenty of simple remedies for anxiety and depression.
Express How You Feel
You can’t do anything about unwanted mood changes if you can’t recognize them. One technique, called “naming,” is a common way to start familiarizing yourself with your moods. Once you’ve developed enough self-awareness to recognize when you aren’t feeling right, you may find yourself retreating from stressful situations. This is a great way to avoid conflict in your relationships, but it isn’t always convenient.
The next step in labeling your emotions is to express them to others. If you’re feeling irritable when talking to your significant other, for example, just say “I’m feeling irritable.” This is a practical way to avoid worsening an already bad mood with relationship stress.
Seasonal anxiety is one of the most common causes of irritability. Exercise is nature’s way of calming anxiety and balancing your body and mind. You don’t need to be Jocko Willink to boost your mood. Even thirty minutes a day of walking in the fresh air is enough for most people to notice a difference. Of course, if you are so inclined, intense exercise comes with proportionate stress-relieving benefits.
Humans are social creatures designed to live groups of other humans. When the weather is cold and most people are sheltering inside, it’s perfectly normal to feel a little isolated and depressed. The solution to wintertime isolation is straightforward: get out and be with your friends and family as much as possible. Remember, even work counts as a social environment, so don’t be afraid to reach out to coworkers or other people who play a big role in your life.
Ways To Stay Motivated
One of the most insidious effects of depression is called “sensorimotor retardation.” Essentially, this is the overwhelming feeling of fatigue or lack of energy that you may feel when depressed. It may cause you to avoid doing exercise or other activities that can cure your low mood, but you should do everything you can to fight this instinct. A few tips include:
- Take over the counter anxiety medication
- Take a cold shower in the morning
- Eat healthy meals
- Avoid alcohol
- Have a list of personal goals
There are plenty of other potential solutions, so don’t be afraid to get creative. The more you can yourself out of your negative thoughts, the better you’ll feel.
Seasonal depression doesn’t have to be overwhelming. With the right coping tools, you can stamp it out before it starts to set in. To break yourself out of a tough spot, try over the counter calming pills that don’t burden you with unpleasant side effects. Be safe, and talk to someone when you’re feeling down.