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We are currently well into the autumn season. While that can mean fun things like early ski days and Thanksgiving, the change in fall and winter months can often affect one’s mood. Seasonal depression, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is a type of depression caused by the changing of seasons. And for most people, SAD occurs during those fall and winter months. However, seasonal depression can still occur during the summer months.
Because we are in autumn and will be welcoming wintertime before we know it, we thought that now would be a great time to talk about ways you can combat your seasonal depression.
You’ve probably heard it before, and that’s because exercise is truly an effective tool to improve your mood. Even as little as 15 minutes of light exercise daily can help to manage symptoms of depression. Weather permitting, a stroll around the neighborhood is one enjoyable way to get your body moving!
Yoga is a fantastic exercise that is also heavily focused on mindfulness and breathing. Yoga has also been known to improve mood, which makes it an excellent option. At SOL Mental Health, we offer yoga therapy to our Colorado patients, as we value a holistic approach to mental health treatment. Research continues to support how beneficial yoga is for the mind and body. No yoga experience is necessary to join us! We will meet you where you are to provide you with the best care possible.
Get Some Sunshine
While SAD may cause you to hole up inside, this practice may actually be worsening your symptoms. Sunlight can greatly improve your mood through a variety of mechanisms, including stimulating your skin to produce Vitamin D and triggering the production of specific neurotransmitters in the brain. Try to get yourself outdoors at least once a day to take in some sunlight. Luckily for those of us in Colorado, we get quite a bit of sunshine. Remember to wear sunscreen if you plan to be outside for longer than 15 minutes!
Light therapy (including bright light therapy and dawn simulation therapy) can also be useful for those days when the sun is hiding. Speak with your doctor to see if this is right for you, and get advice on choosing the best product. These light boxes will mimic outdoor light, a great way to aid those dark winter days.
Make Plans and Socialize
We know that depression makes it challenging to engage with others, but making plans can be helpful in improving your mood. Think about the activities that have made you happy in the past, and make an effort to do them again. This could even be something as simple as journaling.
While you can do many of these activities alone, try to make plans with friends and family could be helpful too. Schedule a time and date so you can make sure it happens. Some people feel better when they include some positive social interactions in their lives.
Seek Professional Care
You can make plenty of habits to aid with SAD, but sometimes, you may need additional help from mental health professionals. We offer many services at SOL Mental Health, including individual therapy and even virtual treatment options. If you are struggling with your mental health this season or any season, reach out to us today to connect with our providers. We are here to help you manage your mental health struggles.