Autumn is a pleasant time for many people to bring back sweaters and enjoy anything seasoned with pumpkin spice. But for you, it’s different.
The shorter days and longer nights mean that winter is just around the corner. And with winter comes seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Seasonal affective disorder is when you experience depression during this time. It’s happened before, and you know that it will come around again this winter.
However, you can prepare for seasonal affective disorder and minimize its impact on your life. Here’s how.
Gather Your Coping Tools
When you prepare for seasonal affective disorder, gather together the things that you know will help you best cope with SAD, such as:
- A journal and writing utensils
- Music (or a musical instrument)
- A lightbox for UV light exposure
- Your favorite robe and slippers
Keep all of these items in a box in an easily accessible place. That way, when you know it’s time to use them, they will be readily available.
Reach Out to Friends and Family
Next, you can get ready for seasonal affective disorder by ensuring your support system is ready to go. These are the people in your life whom you can turn to when you are struggling. Or, they are folks that you can call to check in with even when things are going well.
Contact them now to lay out the groundwork for the coming season. This approach helps prepare your friends and family so that they can be ready to help you when you do call.
Exercise More This Winter
We do know that exercise does help a lot when it comes to depression. So, why not this winter up your exercise game? Even though it will be cold outside, it doesn’t mean you can’t get in a workout.
There are plenty of tools and apps available to provide exercise routines that you can do in your own home. Is it possible to squeeze in an exercise bike or rower in the corner of a room for cardio? Plus, why not try going for a run when it’s cold out? Just add a few layers and go for it!
Keep it on your radar to get outside as much as you can. One of the issues with seasonal affective disorder is that the lack of sunlight affects your circadian rhythm and your serotonin and melatonin levels.
To counter this effect, make sure you are getting enough exposure to the sun. Plus, getting out of the house and breathing in the fresh air will do wonders. Go for a walk. Or if your area receives a lot of snow, snowshoe, or cross-country ski. Instead of hiding from winter, embrace it!
Make a Plan
Bring all of these components together and make a plan for seasonal affective disorder. Write down all the ways you can cope healthily and positively with SAD. Share your plan with someone you know to get feedback and brainstorm ideas.
Also, consider possible scenarios that might occur or you know have occurred in the past. What will you do when these situations arise? Post the plan prominently in your home, such as on the refrigerator door.
Include Depression Counseling
When forming your plan, don’t forget to include depression counseling. If you already see a therapist, ask them for advice on your plan and tips to cope with seasonal affective disorder.
On the other hand, if you don’t have a therapist, consider working with one in your area this year. A therapist is another useful support system that you can rely on to help you get through this time of year.
When you prepare for seasonal affective disorder, it helps to take stock of your resources and plan for what to do when SAD strikes. You can include therapy, as well.
Please reach out to my office today to learn more about Depression Counseling and how I can help.