With winter approaching, seasonal depression will wreak havoc and make people question their happiness.
The transition from fall to winter can be the happiest time of the year, with upcoming holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. However, this change also signifies less sunlight, frumpier clothes to accommodate colder days, and more time inside in search of heat. Regardless of how accustomed you are to these changes, seasonal depression can still creep up and completely surprise you.
"Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you're like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. These symptoms often resolve during the spring and summer months. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer and resolves during the fall or winter months."
Seasonal depression is severe and can affect everyone differently. I struggle minimally and have not sought talk therapy or any treatment before. I start to feel incredibly sad, things I love to eat no longer taste good, and days begin to merge, making me feel like there is no time to accomplish anything. My sadness and inability to do anything eventually culminates in anger and lashing out at people who have done nothing wrong. This year, George, unfortunately, had to deal with a lot.
However, others experience seasonal depression in a much more profound way. It is up to the individual to determine the best way to combat their sadness. If the best way to do that is to seek help and therapy, there is no shame in taking serious action to take care of your mental health. I highly encourage seeking help when necessary.
For people like me who subtly experience seasonal depression, here are some tiny things I do that help bring me joy.
Watching a comfort show or movie
The nostalgia and comfort of watching something that brings you joy can at least temporarily bring you happiness. It's a way of letting your guard down and momentarily forgetting all the complexities and hardships of life that make you feel sad.
This may be particular to me, but getting a haircut always makes me feel extra beautiful. For you, this might translate to getting your nails done, wearing that one outfit you love but never get to wear, or doing your makeup extra lovely. It doesn't have to be big, only something that brings you confidence. Although this may seem vain, pampering yourself can help you focus on yourself and give you the confidence to tackle the things that are making you sad.
Spend time with loved ones
I don't think it coincidental that so many significant holidays coincide with the start of winter's seasonal depression. Spending time with loved ones can remind you of who you are outside of sadness. Being around people can help lift your spirits.
These are some small things I do to bring happiness when I know I'm burdened with seasonal sadness. It's not going to fix everything, but it gives a glimpse of hope that serves as a reminder that the sadness will pass eventually. As I've stated before, depression affects people in many ways and can sometimes best be addressed by seeking professional help. I am not a medical professional, but I can advise this - always remember there is no shame in taking care of your mental health; it should always be a top priority.
For more information about mental health, click here.