Have you ever noticed that you have more mood swings when the weather changes? For example, are you feeling a little more depressed because of the cold weather? Then you may be suffering from seasonal depression, also known as a seasonal affective disorder.
Dealing with depression is hard, but during the colder winter months, it can be more difficult. As the weather becomes colder, the days become shorter, and we get sick easier. Therefore, it’s essential for people struggling with mental health illnesses to learn when their symptoms worsen during the winter months and address them, especially for people with depression.
Seasonal depression can affect anyone, even people who don’t typically suffer from depression year-round. Now that we’ve made it to October and it’s getting chilly, it’s easier to fall into a state of hopelessness and dread. So, in today’s post, I will discuss seasonal depression, its symptoms and share a few ways you can better manage the disorder with a few self-care practices.
What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?
Seasonal Depression, or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is a specific type of depression that occurs around the same time every year. It typically occurs during the fall and winter seasons and ends once the weather becomes a little warmer. Someone with SAD may experience some of the same feelings and emotions as someone with Major Depressive Disorder.
This type of depression is sometimes known as the “winter blues” because of the apparent mood swings which happen commonly during those colder months. However, people can still experience seasonal depression during the spring and summer, although not as frequently.
Symptoms Of Seasonal Depression?
The symptoms of depression and seasonal affective disorder vary from person to person. Although some people may experience this once in their lives, others may have multiple episodes which happen daily, weekly, and even yearly.
While depression may look different for everyone, it’s essential to recognize the symptoms of depression and learn what to do if you see someone struggling. Some of the symptoms of depression may include:
- Trouble Concentration, Memory Less, Easily Distracted
- Extreme Tiredness or Fatigue
- Extreme Feelings of Hopelessness, Dread, or Sadness
- Lost Of Interest In Pleasurable Things
- Suicidal Thoughts/Attempts
- Overeating/Loss Of Appetite
With seasonal depression, these symptoms are associated with how the person may physically and emotionally feel as the weather changes from hot to cold. The symptoms of seasonal depression are very similar to traditional depression. However, there are a few notable differences to keep in mind.
The symptoms of seasonal depression depend on the weather, time of year, and person. These symptoms typically only last a few months and go away once that season is over. Some of the symptoms of seasonal depression may include:
- Increase In Fatigue and Drowsiness
- Weight Gain
- Decreased Sex Drive
- Increased Appetite or Cravings For Sweets
- Memory Loss
What To Do When You’re Feeling Down This Season
As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, self-care and love become even more critical. The fall and winter months can bring considerable challenges to our physical, emotional, and mental health. Unfortunately, that also brings an increase in the rates of depression. According to Psychology Today, approximately 10 million Americans are affected by seasonal affective disorder each year, and another 10% are only affected mildly.
No matter your mental health status, it’s essential to look after it year-round, especially during the colder months. A little mental health self-care can improve your mood any season, including this one. Below are a few ways you can use self-care to lift your spirits throughout the winter season.
Self-Care Ideas For Lifting Your Spirits
- Go outside for at least 30 minutes
- Drink lots of water
- Get plenty of sleep
- Make plans with loved ones
- Read by the window
- Eat more fruits and veggies
- Avoid alcohol, drugs, and hard substances
- Stay cozy
Why Is It Important To Take Care Of Your Mental Health In The fall & Winter?
The fall and winter seasons may be too difficult for some people struggling with their mental health. The lack of sunlight, the cold and harsh weather, and hormonal changes may cause some people to feel more upset, sad, and disorientated during the season. It is during these winter months that you should be practicing mental health self-care the most.
Learning to take care of yourself during the fall and winter seasons will help you to better understand your seasonal wants and needs. This means exercising outdoors and soaking in that natural Vitamin D for some people, but the weather becomes sour. For others, this may be sleeping in and getting some extra beauty rest.
Practicing self-care helps maintain your mood and keep your hopes up when everything is cold and bleak.