As the first day of fall arrives there is joy in the crispness of the air, the leaves changing, and pumpkin spice everything being back on the menu. But for many it also means that their seasonal depression may come back any day now. This condition affects millions of individuals worldwide, typically striking during the fall and winter months due less sunlight and colder temperatures. For some, even the joyful sights and smells of the fall and holidays triggers feelings on fatigue, sadness, and numbness. Pair that with the stress of the holidays and it can be a recipe for several miserable months ahead. However, there are steps you can take to prevent seasonal depression and put your mind at ease about your state of mind over the next few months. Below are a few tips to proactively prevent yourself from falling into the winter blues.
1. Increase Your Natural Light:
One of the key factors contributing to seasonal depression is reduced exposure to natural light. As the days get shorter, our bodies receive less sunlight, leading to disruptions in our circadian rhythm and a drop in mood-regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin. To counteract this, make an effort to spend time outdoors during daylight hours, even if it's just for a short walk. You can also purchse a light therapy box, which mimics natural sunlight and can help alleviate symptoms of seasonal depression.
2. Keep Active:
While working out is often offered as a solution to all mental health aliments, it is particularly important during the winter months. It is difficult to motivate yourself to go to the gym after work or go for a walk when it is dark and cold outside. It takes concerted effort and intention to keep your body moving in the winter. Regular exercise is a powerful antidote to depression because physical activity triggers the release of endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. Find a way to make this an easy habit. Look for some entertaining workouts on YouTube that you can do at home or enlist your social support and workout with friends!
Depression in general causes people to socially isolate. The little voice in your head tells you that you are too tired or a burden on your friends, so you pull away. Then that same voice criticizes you for being alone. Specifically, social isolation is a common symptom of seasonal depression. So, even when you are feeling tired, unmotivated, or like you are bothering your friends, reach out and connect. That voice telling you those things is often incorrect and your friends will benefit from socializing as well!
5. Set Realistic Goals:
Achieving goals and marking things off your to do list increases the hormone dopamine, which makes you feel happy, excited, and energized. The winter months can make it challenging to stay motivated. A trap you may fall into is thinking about everything you want to accomplish and setting unreasonable goals and expectations for yourself. The daunting list will prevent you from even starting on any of the tasks and then you will spiral in negative thoughts about yourself. Instead, break goals down into small manageable tasks so you can be regularly accomplishing things! Feelings of accomplishment can boost your self-esteem and overall mood.
6. Practice Mindfulness and
When feeling depressed it is common to experience waves of hopelessness. Even a small negative social encounter, making a mistake at work, or dropping your phone and breaking the screen can send you into a negative thought spiral. Practicing mindfulness and relaxation exercises can help you better manage day to day stressors. Research has shown that practicing mindfulness for a small amount of time each day can change the way your brain reacts to stressful events!
7. Get connected with a therapist before seasonal depression starts:
If you already know that you typically have seasonal depression in the winter, start therapy now. Finding a therapist can be a daunting task, and if you wait until you are already feeling depressed it may be difficult to motivate yourself to call and get scheduled. Do future you a favor and be preventative not reactive!
With winter approaching seasonal depression can feel ominous and you may already be feeling the dread. Know that you are not alone, and many others are gearing up for this time of year as well! Hopefully having some tools at the ready to help prevent and manage depression symptoms makes you feel empowered and confident going into winter. If you want help and support finding a therapist please reach out, we would love to support you. Finding a therapist can be a daunting task and if we are not the right fit we want to support you fining the help you need!
Seasonal Depression Therapy in Denver, Colorado
Depression can be triggered by poor relationships and can greatly affect our current relationships. If you know that you struggle managing your depression in the winter months, our skilled therapists at Lone Wolf Psychology can help you lessen your depression symptoms and increase your social support. Follow the steps below to get started.
1. We encourage you to get to know a little bit about our therapists, their specializations, and their credentials. Get to know our therapists here.
2. If you think individual therapy for seasonal depression is for you, reach out to us! You can use our convenient online therapy scheduling form found here.
3. Begin the work to prevent you from falling into a deep depression and enjoy everything sweater weather has to offer!
We hope to hear from you soon.
Other Counseling Services in Denver, CO
Not only does our therapy practice in Denver offer Attachment-Based Therapy, but we also offer a wide variety of services for every relationship stage. Each relationship is unique in its personal journey and we are here to provide, insightful and productive Relationship Counseling, Divorce and Break-up Recovery Counseling, Couples Counseling, LGBTQ+ Counseling, Kink and Poly Friendly Therapy, Trauma Therapy, and Premarital Counseling as well. We also offer Self-Help Resources to help supplement your therapy or to better prepare for upcoming therapy sessions!
Schedule a free consultation with a trained couple’s counselor to see if therapy is right for you.