The Winter Blues

The winter blues are an actual thing, Google it. Most commonly referred to as seasonal depression. Medical websites actually have articles on how to cope with depression that can become more difficult in the winter months. Recently I have see posts about “Blue Monday”, I had never heard of it. It’s when people start to get the most depressed. The major holidays are over, people are still in debt from the holidays, the weather is cold, days are shorter, and most people are starting to give up on resolutions. I knew this was quite common, though I had never heard of “Blue Monday”. A day that actually has a very high rate of suicide. Seasonal depression is a real thing, and in the next few months a lot of people are going to struggle with it. There is also a condition that is called “Seasonal Affective Disorder”, this is connected to a lack of vitamin D and can be treated with a hormone treatment, or more commonly, a sunlamp. You can purchase one online, but they can be pretty expensive.
I will begin to feel withdrawn and show other symptoms of depression around the end of February early March. The novelty of winter and cold weather will be over for me, and I’ll want to be outside in the warm sunshine. I’ll start to get short tempered with people, and feel totally lethargic. It’s not uncommon for me to withdraw myself from people, and want to just be left alone. It’ll be a time when I will sometimes just feel depressed and struggle to pull myself out of it.

Below you will find 5 things that work for me to survive!

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  1.  Do a workout that I find enjoyable. Sometimes I won’t want to do it, but I find that 10 minutes into a Daily Burn dance workout I am feeling so much better. It makes me feel accomplished, and like I want to do more with my day than be miserable. My workouts of choice are some form of Zumba or dance workout. But do whatever works for you. The rest of this winter I’ll definitely be trying to put yoga into the mix.
  2. Talk to a close friend. It helps to catch up with someone who really knows me. Also it’s nice to vent about how I am feeling, and if that person is struggling it feels to help them work out their problems. A lot of times I will want to be alone and miserable, so if I am slightly inclined to reach out to a friend, I will do it.
  3. Embrace the sunshine. I will often tell Jim that I need the sunshine to make me feel better. I know that might sound totally nuts, but it works. If it is cold out we will either go for a drive, or raise the shades while we do stuff at home. Or if I catch that random day, that’s not completely freezing, I will 100% do everything I can to get outside for as long as I can. I will go for a run or a walk, and stay outside for hours. In the winter months I need that vitamin D fix.
  4. Do a relaxing hobby that makes me feel accomplished. I’ll read a book, or write in a journal. I have a really great book full of writing prompts. My sister is crazy good at crotchet, so that is usually her go to. I always tell myself I am going to learn how to knit or crotchet, give me something productive to work on.
  5. Motivate yourself for the future. I have a “Bucket List Book”, where I keep all my different goals. So when I am feeling down I’ll read over what I have accomplished, and what I still want to do. Sometimes this will entail me doing some research one line. This can be looking up 5k runs, looking up different places I want to visit, books I want to read, or things I want to learn about. I’ll plan for new and exciting workouts I want to try once the nicer weather comes. Planning for the future makes me want to kick a rough mood, or get out of a rut.

What works for me, might not work for you. But it’s important that if you feel that your seasonal depression is getting in the way of your everyday life that you contact a doctor. Talking to a professional is something that may be what’s best for you, and many insurance plans put mental health in the same category as a regular doctors visit. Depression can be a serious illness, and you are not in it alone. If you have your own ways of dealing with seasonal depression, I would love to hear them.

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