During the winter months, I always begin to notice that my depression gets worse. A few years ago in therapy, my therapist informed me that I was most likely suffering from seasonal depression. I knew that I always preferred the spring and summer more than winter, but I had NO idea about the mental toll winter had on me. Not only do I always feel more depressed and anxious, but I find myself being super fatigued and having little motivation. Of course, moving to a warmer area could solve the issue of seasonal depression, but that is not something that I want to do, and a lot of people are unable to move due to seasonal depression. Rather than making a huge life change, here are some things I have found that help combat the winter blues.
- Taking Vitamin D Supplements
- A routine blood test showed that I am vitamin D deficient and the deficiency gets worse in the winter months. I am known for being out in the sun a lot in the summer, but that is not a luxury I have during the winter, so I am not soaking up as much vitamin D from the sun throughout the winter. Vitamin D plays a key role in mental health regulation, and I’ve found that taking a vitamin d supplement has worked wonders for my mental health in the winter. *ALWAYS ASK YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE STARTING A NEW MEDICINE OR SUPPLEMENT*
- Investing in a “Sun Light”
- One of the biggest issues I have during the winter is going to work when it’s dark in the morning and not leaving work until it’s dark in the evening. Missing out on the sunlight hours just puts me into a rut. To help this, I bought an artificial “sun light” that is basically a bright light meant to simulate sun light. I use this light when I am eating breakfast in the morning and when I come home in the evening. Despite knowing the light is not actually sun light, I have found that the bright light alone really improves my mood and helps me feel like I am not missing out on precious daylight hours.
- Enjoying the Nice Days
- Pittsburgh is known for its fluctuating weather, so some days in the winter it can be freezing and the next day it may be in the 50s. On days that it is warm enough to bear going outside, I try to take some time and take a little walk. Even though it is still cold and I have to bundle up a little, just being outside really boosts my mood. Not only does the small amount of outside time help regulate my mood, but it is also a helpful reminder that the cold and darkness are not permanent and sunny days are ahead and to enjoy each moment along the way!
Everyone experiences the seasons differently, but these are just a few tips I have found for conquering the winter months! I’d love to hear if you have any other tips!
Do you find your mood worsening during the winter months? How do you manage the winter blues?