1. When will Spring come? Overcoming Seasonal Depression

    March 12, 2014

    When will Spring come? Overcoming Seasonal Depression

    by Daniela Aneis

    I had a depressed patient in psychotherapy that used to ask me frequently “When will Spring come?” meaning when would she overcome depression and see the light at the end of the tunnel (We started treatment in the Fall so her question made sense at the time). A few months into treatment and feeling quite better, she said to me: “I don’t know why I thought it would all be better in the Spring. It’s still raining and cold and I feel better. It’s all me [referring to several changes she made in herself, her habits and the way she saw herself and depression].”

    To set the record straight: clinical depression is a life threatening condition if not properly treated and needs professional treatment. Both pharmacological and psychological treatment. But I’m not going to talk to you about clinical depression but about what might be called seasonal depression – a mood fluctuation due to seasons passing and usually is felt during the Fall or Spring. People go through it without realizing but it can make small damages into your life. You may feel inexplicably sad, without the motivation and energy to pursue your goals, isolated. And if you’re having other problems in your life, you might just be opening the door to let the clinical depression settle into your life.

    So watch out for the signs before you open the door to let depression in. Instead try to make it feel like Spring is here earlier.

    Seasonal Depression: What are the signs?

    • Do you feel drained? Without energy?
    • Do you feel like sleeping too much or not enough?
    • Are not motivated to do things or start new projects?
    • Having been feeling sad lately for no good reason? Or experiencing mood swings?
    • Have you cried more than usual?
    • Do the things you used to love doing not give the same pleasure as they used to?
    • Do you feel like staying at home all the time and don’t feel like going out or being with friends as often as you did?

    If you’re experiencing some or must of these signs, you may be experiencing a seasonal depression. Watch out for these signs and try some of the strategies presented below.

    A few to tips on how to let the Spring in earlier:

    • Open your windows, let the sun in. Winter is a season where there’s less natural light, the weather is gray and rainy most of the days and lack of natural sunlight often aggravates depression.
    • Clean the house. Literally! Organizing your home space and getting rid of the junk will make you feel lighter.
    • Make the best out of the sunshine. Are you feeling tempted into spending a lazy Sunday indoors? Go outside and get some sun!  Even if just for an hour it will have enduring effects on your mood.
    • Practice exercise. Exercise creates a relaxation state and helps you take off the steam.
    • Be with friends. Isolation is not only a sign of depression but it works as fuel to the depression cycle. Break the cycle and set a date with your friends.
    • Sleep well. Not much! And wake up early. A good night sleep is usually everything. So try to keep health sleeping habits (like going to bed at the same time every night, doing relaxing stuff before going to bed)
    • Make the best out of your day. Try to do different things and step away from your routine.
    • Watch out for the signs. And make necessary adjustments to counteract its effects. What do you need to change in your life that will ease some of the seasonal depression’s signs and effects?

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/35924887@N02/5448338240