Managing Depression in the Long Winter Months
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that affects people throughout the long, dark winter months. For many, whether they are diagnosed with depression year-round, or experience SAD in the winter months only, getting through the long winter days can prove to be the most difficult time of the year.
Depression disorders may disrupt daily life to those suffering from them, including interfering with that person’s responsibilities at home and work. For those suffering from these conditions, there are a number of steps that can be taken to manage the condition during the winter. First off, it is important to recognize that the seasons can and do affect you. There are a few actions you can take if the winter affects your mood, starting with the below:
Soak in the sunshine whenever possible. Make a point to go outdoors, take a walk when the sun is out and the weather is good. If you are stuck inside during a sunny day, open the blinds and sit next to a window when possible.
If you become sedentary because of your mood, your mood will likely suffer. Make an effort to be social, try new indoor activities or a new winter sport. Even getting out to shovel the driveway may help. Don’t sit inside alone and be inactive.
Invest in a Light Box
Light therapy can have significant positive effects on depression in the wintertime. Experts recommend being exposed to light for between 30 and 120 minutes per day from the time of your first SAD symptoms until you being to feel better in the Spring.
If you are already receiving treatment for depression, it is important to maintain that therapy and possibly talk to your health care provider about adding additional therapies to help you through the winter. Some experts suggest that cognitive behavioural therapy from a counsellor has been proven to be helpful.
Through all or some of these methods, worsening depression throughout the winter months can be dealt with to allow you to feel better. Speak with your healthcare provider if you feel you may benefit from additional therapies in the winter months.