Seasonal depression is a recognized form of depression recognized in the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The American Psychiatric Association describes it as a "major depressive disorder with a seasonal pattern." The cold weather and decreased sunlight as the days get shorter literally messes with your body's serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitting chemical that sends messages from the external world to your emotional brain, which affects your mood. Thus, for many, the shift from summer into the fall and winter months brings the onset of an inevitable seasonal depression, potentially lingering for up to five months.
If this is something you have experienced, fear not! There are many ways to proactively support your mental health as we enter the dark and stormy season ahead. In this blog post, we'll explore what you can do to manage your seasonal blues for a warm and fruitful fall and winter.
7 Ways To Cope With Seasonal Depression
- Create a home for your self-care practice. Since you'll spend significantly more time inside, romanticize the small daily rituals that bring you back to center. Consider this dedicated space your in-home wellness center.
- Give yourself an extra hour of sleep. If the lack of sunlight and heat is what throws your body off, what better than to give it the r&r it needs to recharge? Spend those hours you've been enjoying the hot summer nights under the covers watching some Netflix with a cup of your favorite tea. You'll be surprised at how effective doing nothing is for managing your mood. If you struggle to fall or stay asleep, add a few drops of our Wind Down Nightly Mind-Relaxing Tincture before gulping it down.
- Try light therapy. If you have the means to, invest in a lightbox. This is a device that literally emits the sunlight your body is missing in the fall and winter seasons anytime you hit the power button. Exposing your body to light helps regulate your body's internal clock, improve your mood, and reduces the symptoms of SAD.
- Move negative energy out of your body. While it may be too much to ask to get up and go to the gym, you can always opt for a (much) more casual workout instead, like a YouTube yoga session in the comfort of your own living room. Whether your preference is a 5 am spin class at the gym or an in-home stretch and meditation, just make sure you're doing some kind of physical activity that ushers the flow of energy through your body.
- Host a night in with your best friends or family. If you're used to always going out for social gatherings, the pivot in season is the perfect opportunity to switch things up. You can find endless activities to host group functions at home, from movie night to cozy CBD beverages that provide a healthier alternative to your normal alcoholic drink of choice.
- Vision plan for next year. Nothing makes you feel more productive than using your downtime to set goals and an action plan for what you want to achieve next. Piggybacking on point #5, goal-setting or creating vision boards can be a fun group activity for a girl's night in.
- See a therapist. If you don't already, this can be a great time of year to dive into some deep self-reflection. Seeking the help of a mental health professional can guide you in doing this intentionally, and show you the areas you should be using this season to grow into a better version of yourself.
Although seasonal depression is a pretty common experience, it's not a hopeless one. There are many things you can do, like practice self-care, get more sleep, surround yourself with friends and family, experiment with different types of therapy, and vision plan for the next phase of your life to combat SAD and lift your spirits during the fall and winter months. Ladykind products support all of the above suggestions and are more accessible than ever this month. If you have trouble hyping yourself before the day or winding yourself down at the end of the night, give the Rise & Rest Set a try, or take 15% off either individual tincture with discount codes RISEUP15 and WINDDOWN15.