major depression

13 Ways to Handle Seasonal Depression

It’s winter here in the Northern Hemisphere, and even those who live in Florida are going to experience the occasional dreary day. “Bleak with a 90% chance of depression” may not be an official designation on the Weather Channel but it can be a side effect to this time of the year.

You feel down sometimes, and maybe you slip into some dark moods. Or it could be more than that. You could be dealing with S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder), or even major depression. Whatever is going on, pretending that everything’s okay is never the best approach. There are ways to battle depression, so let’s take a look at some of these effective ways to fight depression during the cold and gray seasons.

1. Get up and get moving.

Get out of bed and get on with your day. The simple intention of facing the new day can tip the balance.

2. Launch a regular exercise routine.

Begin each day with a routine of exercise and introduce oxygen to your brain. The point is to be deliberate and regular.

3. Talk with someone about it.

Share how you feel with a trusted friend, a pastor, or a counselor. Depression is not a road to take alone.

4. Read inspirational quotes.

Find a good source of meaningful, motivating thoughts and memorize something positive every couple of days. These don’t have to be sappy.

Find a good source of meaningful, motivating thoughts and memorize something positive every couple of days.

5. Avoid negative messages.

The opposite of #4. If talk radio or 24/7 news makes you angry or sad, choose something else. Don’t be the passive victim of negativity when you can act to change the environment.

6. Do something for someone else.

Invest yourself in improving someone else’s day or life. Add a regular volunteer initiative or commit to daily random acts of kindness. The focus here is on helping others.

7. Surround yourself with beauty.

It’s no cliché that beauty is good for the soul. Take in an art show, listen to some classical music at full volume, watch the sunrise or sunset, check out on-line venues for travel photography, and try a walk on the beach.

8. Play with a dog.

Put yourself in a position where you know you will smile. Play, go to the park together, take long walks. Volunteer at a shelter if that’s what it takes to put you in contact with a furry friend.

9. Spend more time with your children.

Let them set the agenda. Just enjoy them. Be grateful.

10. Clean your kitchen… study… house.

Clean, organized spaces simply make us feel better and better equipped to do something creative or productive.

11. Make a small change in your routine.

Head into work 15-minutes early to make coffee for the office. Ride a bike to work one day a week. Treat yourself to a wardrobe item that makes you feel good about yourself. Take a cooking class. Do something to mix it up and put the focus on moving forward.

12. Watch your favorite comedy.

It is no joke that laughter is the best medicine. Healing humor can be a powerful intervention.

13. Don’t be afraid to cry.

In other words, don’t bottle things up. Don’t fight your body (and soul) when the natural intervention of tears comes to the surface.

What is your strategy that has helped when you feel down?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “How do the seasons affect your emotions?”