For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, temperatures are dropping and the days are beginning to grow shorter. And it’s about that time when Seasonal Affective Depression (SAD) can begin to set in. What is SAD? It’s exactly what it sounds like: seasonal depression. When the weather shifts, it can make us more depressed or sad – particularly in winter.
Whether it’s seasonal or not, depression limits people’s ability to work and live their lives to the fullest. Even you feel like you can “live with it,” there are some natural ways that you can be more mindful about how you’re feeling. And these small things can make all the difference!
1. Step onto your mat!
It goes without saying that getting your butt to a yoga class can be one of the most beneficial ways of coping with your SAD. It gets you out of the house, moving and out of your own thoughts. As someone who is constantly overthinking, I can fully vouch for just how useful a yoga class can be for resetting your mind. And once you’re in the yoga studio, you have the chance to meet a new friend, try a new class and even go to that new cafe you’ve been meaning to try (and treat yourself to a hot chocolate).
2. Take Vitamin D supplements
If you live in an area of the world where the sun really doesn’t like to shine, you might want to consider adding some vitamin D supplements to your morning routine. In fact, low levels of vitamin D are linked to SAD in some studies. Your multivitamin might already have vitamin D, but it doesn’t hurt to add some additional supplements to your morning!
3. Take a walk outside
It might seem obvious but one of the biggest steps you can take to combat SAD is stepping outside. Getting into the sunlight, however rare it might seem, can be hugely helpful if you’re feeling down and just want to huddle inside for days on end. Granted it might be cold, so bundle up and take a walk outside in nature. It might give you some much needed space both mentally and physically from any problems!
4. Keep a journal
Like any other form of illness, there are triggers that you should watch out for and also coping mechanisms that really work for you. Journaling is a safe way of being completely open and honest with yourself about what makes you feel sad, and what things, no matter how small, can make you feel better. Reading back over your notes or even just the practice of mindfully writing your thoughts can be hugely helpful for tracking your own emotions.
5. Last but certainly not least, reach out to your best friend
There’s no question that it can be difficult to reach out to people for help, but just calling or texting your best friend can give you a friend who you know will support and be there with you. Maybe they’ll convince you to attend a yoga class with you or maybe they’ll come over bearing heaps of chocolate and your favorite sappy movie (my personal favorite is Love Actually). But that person, whoever they are, wants to be there for you and reaching out can be the healthiest thing you can do.