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Seasonal Depression- Why do I feel like this?

Updated: Dec 31, 2021


You ever wake up feeling like just waking up was too much for you? Your so exhausted but got more than the typical seven hours of sleep. Or your ‘Go To’ has become sleeping all day? Your just tired and crabby for no reason. How about when you rely on the sun to get you going, and it decided to chill that morning? Uggghhh, and its cold outside.... so why even bother?

For the past five years, I have experience this more than ever- never mind the other hats I was wearing (mom, wife, friend, employee, or any other ad hoc hats that came about) had its own stressors. I always thought something was wrong with me. I was exhausted for no reason and just felt lazy, unmotivated, and no energy. Come to find out there is such a thing as seasonal depression (aka Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)).

This is a type of depression caused by seasonal changes that usually begins and ends at the same time each year. It is caused by changes in the amount of sunlight we are exposed to in the colder months (winter time). We often tend to feel down when the days are getting shorter in the fall and winter and begin to feel better in the longer daylight hours, like the spring. This is different than having “winter blues”, which occurs when you are feeling down for a few days. SAD can last for weeks, months, or even the whole season.


Symptoms include:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day

  • Inability to focus

  • Feeling tired and/or fatigue

  • Feeling agitated or sluggish easily

  • Feeling antisocial causing you to deliberately avoid people

  • Excessive/trouble sleeping

  • Lack of energy

  • Loss of interest in activities you typically enjoy

  • Experiencing changes in appetite or weight

11 WAYS TO EASE SEASONAL DEPRESSION

1. MAKE YOUR BED

This is a daily practice that I live by, regardless how I am feeling. It’s a small task yet, a daily habit that’s worth setting the tone for the day.


2. FETCH YOU SOME LIGHT

The lack of sunlight is one of the biggest causes of seasonal depression. Natural light effects our circadian rhythm which tells our bodies to produce more melatonin in the evening so we can sleep better and less in the morning upon us rising.


Light therapy has proven effective during these times. You can get a SAD lamp which uses light box therapy or dawn stimulators to stimulate your circadian rhythm to ensure your producing more melatonin at the right times of day. In essence, it’s an artificial mood light that helps in waking you up and making you happier throughout the day.


3. BY ALL MEANS, GET MOVING

You may not be the person who has strict regime for exercise. That’s A OKAY!! Upon waking up, do some stretches, turn some music on for 15 minutes and get grooving! Music always gets me grooving! It may be silly, but before you know it, your vibing out, time has passed, and you probably burned like 300 calories.


4. EATING HEALTHY


Eating a well-balanced meal can assist with your energy levels. Sometimes people think that eating healthy means to omit the things we enjoy. Yet, its about moderation with everything. Even eating too many of anything can make you sick. Eat whatever you want, just be mindful of how you feel. Life doesn’t have to be focused solely on salads, green veggies, smoothies, and whole grains- add some cupcakes in there too!


5. PRAYER & MEDITATION

Have an open conversation with whatever you deem as your Higher Power, asking for direction and clarity in this cycle of depression. Completely call yourself to being present, by sitting still and focusing on your breathe. Meditation doesn’t have to be long and drawn out, five minutes can be enough. If you can do so longer, then BONUS.


6. JOURNALING

This is a wonderful way to get your thoughts out- to release some of your worries and it doesn't have to be structured. Write like no one will ever read it. Just get your thoughts out and let them ride. However, I recommend you write things that bring you some form of joy, no matter how small it may seem, so that when you go back to read it, you are uplifted by your own words.


7. GETTING OUTSIDE

Get outside (especially when the sun is shining) when you can. This is a guaranteed mood-booster. Maybe you don’t want to get outside because it’s too cold, well bring the outside right on inside. Open them curtains and blinds. Pull up a chair to a window and take stock of all that’s happening outside from your warm and comfy house. Let that natural light shine in. And even when its cold outside, if the sun is shining, let that sunshine bless your face.


8. GRATITUDE & EMBRACING THE SMALLEST THINGS

Let’s not underestimate the power of being grateful. Gratitude helps us to appreciate what we have right now. When we start to appreciate what we already have, this allows us to focus on the present and not get carried away with what’s to come. Focus more on what’s going right then what’s wrong.


In having gratitude, embrace the smallest things- the fresh air we breathe, the variety of different foods we eat, your autonomy, drinking your favorite tea or coffee drink, wrapping up in your favorite blanket, having belly aching laughs with great people, watching the sunrise/ sunset, etc. Whatever it is, take solace in gratitude and appreciating where you are.

9. READING

I used to hate reading, it used to take me like three months to get through one book. By reading at least 20 pages per day, I now look forward to reading daily on ways to grow myself, both professionally and personally. Reading not only stimulates your mind, but you gain knowledge in return. It expands your memory and strengthen your analytical skills. So, why not give it a go?


10. SLEEP

Getting enough sleep- this one is tough- easier said then done, but make your room as dark as you can without the blue light from your cellphone and put away screens at least an hour prior to bed. You can also use the Calm or Insighttimer app.


Seasonal Depression is a legit serious issue, which should not be confused with having "winter" blues. If you feel like you’re feeling down for more than a week, its time to try the remedies above. And if these have not worked, don’t shy away from therapy from a professional therapist. Note, how I recommend a “professional”. Telling our issues to our loved ones and friends is venting. A professional can help us identify our triggers, create a plan inclusive of coping mechanisms, etc. Some professionals may provide you an antidepressant, I’m not into medicating unless it is absolutely and completely necessary. - but its your call.

My hope is that you know that you are not alone. There are millions of people in the US that suffers from Seasonal Depression, my having been one of them. The great thing is that there are remedies and tools waiting for us to utilize.


Let me know what remedy works for you?



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