Is Seasonal Depression Ruining the "Happiest Time of the Year"?
A few days ago, I stepped outside in the early hours of the morning to drive my son to school, and realized that fall had truly arrived. We ducked back inside for jackets and (in his case) long pants, and then went merrily on our way. I, like so many others, am one of the completely obnoxious people that love the holiday season. I over decorate, over shop, and keep my Christmas tree up way longer than any sane human being.
However, I didn't always used to be this way. The cold, the short days, and the forced cheerfulness at the very least added to my anxiety, and at the most, was downright depressing. In these times I tended to isolate myself, and almost revel in the loneliness of it all.
As an adult, I ran into the term "seasonal depression," and suddenly, it all clicked. There are many reasons why seasonal depression is a such a common occurrence among adults and children alike. Some of which we are forced to simply wait out, hopefully by reminding ourselves that spring is just around the corner, and the negative feelings will lift. But some symptoms, can be reduced by taking a few simple measures.
Here are Book Bros Top Three Ways to Fight the Winter Gloom:
Tip #1: Vitamin D
When we think of nutrients, we most often think of the food that we put into our bodies, or the vitamins and supplements that we consume. What we tend to forget, is that we also gain nutrients from the sun. Vitamin D, especially, is absorbed from the sun's rays. When the days become shorter, we tend to spend less time absorbing this warm source of nutrients. Especially if our jobs keep us indoors, we tend to head into the office before the sun is up, and head home as it is setting.
The first way to combat this is to ensure that your multi-vitamins include an appropriate dose of vitamin D. It also helps to take any chance you can to spend some time outdoors. Even if its bundling up and taking a walk on your lunch break, every little bit counts.
Tip #2: Exercise Modification
It is a well-known fact that exercise releases positive endorphins and is a natural weapon against depression. When winter comes, and the outdoors become cold, wet, and less inviting, those of us that are used to exercising outside, tend to slow down our routines. No one wants to wake up at 6 am to get a run in before work when it's below freezing outside.
If you can't bundle up and brave the cold, then your best option is to modify your routine to focus more on exercises that can be completed indoors. This may mean joining a gym, or, if that isn't your scene, joining exercise courses or events online. Investing in some simple home-exercise equipment like free weights and a yoga mat will allow you to continue producing those feel-good hormones, without having to jog in a puffer jacket and long underwear.
Tip #3: Faux Sunlight
The last tip we have for you is a little less obvious. Many people who suffer from seasonal depression cite the short, dark, days as a primary reason. Lights that mimic natural sunlight allow you to have more control over your perception of the day's length. Some options on the market even come with timers that can be used to schedule a faux sunrise. Then, instead of waking up in the cold darkness, you are able to wake up to the warmth of early morning light. And instead of eating dinner with dark windows and a harsh white ceiling light above you, you are able to end your day to your own, self-scheduled, sunset.
It seems silly, but for true sufferers of seasonal depression, a quick (possibly silly) Amazon order is the least of their worries.
By maintaining the appropriate nutrition, minimizing changes in your wellness routine, and taking control the perceived length of your days, you are well on track to fighting back. Maybe this year, you might even join in when your granny demands the family gather round for holiday carols.