Estimates indicate that five percent of the US population experiences seasonal depression every year. Seasonal depression, also referred to as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a type of depression that coincides with the changing of the seasons.
Most people experience seasonal depression during the fall and winter months, though it is possible to have symptoms during spring or summer. Follow these tips to combat seasonal depression.
When the weather is cold, it’s tempting to snuggle up on the couch with snacks and a movie or good book. However, exercise is an excellent way to encourage the production of neurotransmitters that alleviate depressive episodes.
Exercise causes your body to make endorphins; endorphins are mood-boosting hormones that help balance dopamine and serotonin deficiencies that can lead to low moods. Your activity doesn’t have to be complex or fancy. Instead, try walking, dancing, house cleaning, or gardening to get your body moving.
Even if the weather is cold and cloudy, make outside time part of your daily schedule. Sunlight encourages your body to produce more serotonin, a mood-boosting hormone. Or, if you struggle to regularly spend time outside, invest in a light box that mimics natural sunlight.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
One of the symptoms of seasonal depression is increased cravings for high carbohydrate foods; resist these cravings and follow an eating plan that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, and protein. Consume limited amounts of highly processed foods.
A healthy diet reduces inflammation in your body which can increase your risk of experiencing depression.
Seek Counseling or Therapy
If you feel like you don’t cope with stress well or struggle to process and manage your emotions, you can benefit from counseling or therapy sessions. Your therapist can help you explore factors that contribute to your depressive feelings and suggest a plan of action to assist you with better managing stress and your depression.
A Caring Approach offers personalized counseling services in a safe, supportive environment to assist with your self-development journey. Call us at 703-408-4965 to schedule an appointment.