Aside from the excitement of the holidays, the winter months can be quite dreary. The sun is gone before many of us have left the office for the day and the biting cold weather makes it hard to look for an excuse to leave the house. The lack of sunlight and isolating nature of the season can lead to interference with our mental health.
Many people refer to this phenomenon as seasonal depression, although the technical name is seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Millions of Americans struggle with this form of depression between fall and spring each year. If this sounds like you, know that you’re not alone.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ease seasonal depression without taking the prescription medication route. In today’s blog post, we are covering some of the most effective ways to overcome seasonal depression. Now, let’s dive in.
Signs of Seasonal Depression
Seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder, can take many forms. For one person, it could look like a change in appetite or sleep cycle. For others, it could result in feelings of worthlessness or indecision. Here are some of the most common signs of seasonal depression to be aware of:
- Increased appetite
- Change in sleeping habits
- Loss of interest in activities
- Feelings of sadness or depression
- Increased fatigue or loss of energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feelings of worthlessness or indecision
- Increased restlessness
- Suicidal thoughts
Ways to Ease Seasonal Depression
Here are 5 ways to ease seasonal depression in 2022:
- Light Therapy
One of the primary causes of seasonal depression is the lack of sunlight exposure we experience during the winter months. Light therapy can be an incredibly effective way to combat this issue and is typically one of the first treatment options to be recommended by a doctor.
This generally involves purchasing a light therapy box (or phototherapy box) and sitting in front of it for 20 to 30 minutes each day. The light is designed to mimic sunshine and is meant to result in a chemical change in your brain that can alleviate the symptoms of seasonal depression. You can also keep light therapy lamps in the areas of your house that you frequent the most, like your home office or living room.
- Taking CBD
In recent years, cannabidiol (CBD) has become a popular treatment option for individuals struggling with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. While the available research is still limited, many have found CBD to be effective in alleviating their symptoms.
CBD doesn’t boost serotonin levels on its own, but it has been shown to have positive effects on how your brain’s chemical receptors respond to the dopamine and serotonin in your body. As a result, CBD can help to regulate your mood, reduce stress, increase energy levels, and regulate your sleep cycle.
There are plenty of ways to incorporate CBD into your routine, from taking a daily CBD tincture to enjoying CBD coffee in the morning. Minor side effects commonly associated with CBD include nausea, diarrhea, and fatigue, so it’s important to start small gradually increase the dosage as you determine the right amount for your body (a little goes a long way).
- Social Interaction
When you’re feeling depressed, it’s easy to let it consume you and cause you to isolate yourself from your loved ones. By filling your winter calendar with activities that force you to get out of the house and socialize, you can prevent social isolation from setting in and progressing the feelings of depression.
Consider signing up for an indoor sports league, art classes, or weekly fitness classes. Once you’ve committed to doing something on a regular basis, you’re much more likely to follow through. Alternatively, you could meet up with your friends and family for game nights, dinner parties, and winter-friendly activities. If it’s unsafe to drive, you can always set up a Zoom or FaceTime call with a loved one to socialize from home.
Studies have shown that exposure to essential oils has the potential to help lessen the symptoms of seasonal depression and other mental health issues. More specifically, essential oils can be used to influence the part of our brains that controls our moods, sleep, and appetite.
You can incorporate aromatherapy into your routine by applying essential oils through body oils, oil diffusers, and even jewelry. Additionally, aromatherapy can be combined with other self-care methods like enjoying a spa day at home or taking a long bath.
- Regular Exercise
Staying active is one of the most effective ways to ease seasonal depression. Sticking to a workout routine during the winter can be challenging, especially if it’s snowy outside, but pushing through it can go a long way in alleviating the symptoms of seasonal depression.
If you can’t drive to a gym and it’s too cold to walk or run outside, consider investing in a treadmill, stationary bike, or other forms of workout equipment to use at home. By getting your heart rate up on a regular basis and following a healthy diet, you can optimize your cannabinoid system and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
The dark and gloomy winter season can cause many of us to fall into slumps, but implementing these simple tips can help you combat seasonal depression. Considering incorporating CBD into your daily or weekly routine? Explore our CBD Marketplace and browse our premium collection of elixirs, concentrates, salves, and more.
Note: If you or a loved one are struggling with seasonal depression or any other health concerns, please consider seeking advice from a medical professional before taking matters into your own hands.