5 Ways to Battle Seasonal Depression

Sal Pendleton, Staff Writer

Seasonal Depression, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is a type of depression that is caused by the change in seasons. Even though it usually lessens when spring hits it’s still a form of depression that affects 10 million Americans a year and it can be hard to get rid of. Even if it might be hard, we can still try our best to alleviate it in even the simplest of ways.

Possible causes for SAD can be the change in our biological clocks after daylight savings. Our body clocks help maintain our sleep schedules, our hormones, and even our moods. During the colder months when we get less sunlight, our body clocks are out of regulation and we feel less motivated because we might not feel like there’s as much time in the day as there was during summer. During the winter, we might be getting a lack of Vitamin D, a nutrient that maintains your bones, immune system, and muscle function. Vitamin D can be provided by the sun and even gives us a serotonin (A neurotransmitter that controls our happiness) boost when absorbed, but the lack of sunlight during the winter may be what depresses our moods.

Once spring rolls around, seasonal depression will usually automatically begin to lessen automatically. Sometimes it doesn’t go away automatically though, or sometimes you might feel like you need a push to get rid of it, so here are some tips to get rid of hard to shake off SAD.

1. Sitting in the sun

Probably the most obvious thing that I will put on this list is to get outside and be in the sun. It can be as simple as sitting in the backyard, but as long as you’re in the sun and absorbing vitamin D, your chances of feeling better are already growing. Everything that I will talk about can be done in the comfort of the sun for maximum productivity.

2. Reading

Reading is one of my favorite hobbies, especially during the spring because it calms my brain down. Getting through SAD can be incredibly hard, as its symptoms include sadness, lack of energy, sleeping problems, etc. Research has shown that reading helps alleviate depression symptoms because it allows us to relax and get lost in a fictional world without any worries for our own lives. It also reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and helps us sleep at night by keeping us off of our harsh phone screens. 

Reading can be whatever you want it to be because it’s such a wide world. There are fantasy books to transport you into a different dimension, thrillers to suck you into an interesting mystery, and romance for the hopeless romantics. Depression often makes us feel alienated, but reading allows us to create our very own worlds and allow us to see characters who might be experiencing similar problems as us.

3. Yoga

There are many types of yoga such as vinyasa, hatha, restorative, etc and everyone will find their favorite. Mine is yin, which is a style of yoga that focuses on long-held floor poses that mostly give attention to the lower parts of the body. Yoga has taught me a lot since I first began practicing, and the biggest lesson of them all has been that everything can be done in your own way. Each yoga pose that is learned is a guideline eventually, you will know which variation of each pose works best for you. Yin yoga specifically stretches out your hard-worked and underworked muscles for minutes at a time and allows you to learn to find comfort within your discomfort and to be patient with yourself. During long days filled with constant movement, yin yoga focuses on sitting still for minutes at a time so we can slow down and think. Yoga has no time limit it can be done for 10 minutes every three days or for 50 minutes every single day the journey of yoga is experimental and it works differently for everyone. 

No matter what form of yoga you find yourself enjoying the most, they all have the same benefits overall that help with depression and give the body the exercise that it needs.

4. Meditation

In similar ways to yoga (and can even be incorporated into it), meditation also helps us slow down during our fast daily lives and create time for ourselves. Depression fills our minds with negative thoughts that make us think that our worst is our regular when it’s not. Meditation allows us to be present, gain new perspectives, and reduce our negative emotions by allowing us to stop and come back to ourselves. Though meditation seems easy it can be hard to get into the meditative mindset, using guided meditation videos on YouTube can help with beginning meditation, or meditation music to stop your thoughts from wandering. Meditating outside can also be helpful to be more present with yourself and nature too.

5. Getting out of the house

Hanging out with friends doesn’t always have to be eventful. It can be as simple as watching a movie together on the couch or sitting in a park to simply enjoy each other’s company. Getting out of the house and seeing friends can be a good distraction from negative feelings and seeing people that we love reminds us that we are loved too.

Spring is a season for reflection and being able to rediscover ourselves after long dark winters, and we should take full advantage of it, any form of depression be damned. We always have the power to overcome our hardest battles and these are the things that have helped me conquer mine, and I hope they will help you conquer yours too.