Some term it winter depression or winter blues. Whatever label you put on those feelings, we all know that for some, the colder months can be harder. When you are prone to or already in a depressed state you may not welcome the upcoming change of seasons. Shorter days, less sunlight, and waking up in the dark can make the blahs come back or even get a bit worse. With a little planning you can ensure your depression does not worsen or creep back in.
- Check in with your therapist. If you have not seen a professional in quite some time, the fall is the perfect time for a check-up. You can review how your year has been going so far, what has triggered your depression in the past, and then plan a course of action for you to get through the winter months.
- Get support around you now. Make sure you have personal support around you so that during the colder time of year you can socialize and keep busy. Find a book club, sign-up for a new class, or schedule dinners with friends to get you out and about. When you stay busy and interact with others you will find you stay happier.
- Do not consume too much alcohol. Yes, we are approaching the holiday season, and with that comes celebration and merriment. When alcohol flows people tend to be in a good mood – but if you struggle with depression, alcohol can exacerbate your sadness. While alcohol can help you forget about your problems in the short term, it can have the opposite effect in the long term. And of course a hangover will keep you indoors and not feeling well which is exactly where you do not want to be.
- Take inventory and acknowledge your feelings. When you look for the signs of depression on a regular basis in yourself or at least commit to being aware, you will have a greater chance of catching them before you hit trouble. For instance, if you start to feel sad and not sure why, get out and take a walk or talk to a friend about your feelings. Climbing into bed or sitting on the couch hoping your mood improves will not help you.
The fact that you walk a path with depression is one that adds an interesting dimension to your life. There is no reason to feel sorry for yourself or simply hope that it goes away. You know the steps you have to take to make sure you live a fulfilled life and I am here to help you at every turn. Take full control of your feelings and emotions during this time – it is the best gift you can give to yourself during the holiday season.