When you have depression, winter just sucks. I may have moved to the wrong state in that aspect. There is hardly any sunlight, and you have to spend 10 minutes bundling up before greeting the single digit weather. My depression has gotten better in the past two years when it comes to winter, but there are times when it really hits hard.
Keeping busy is hard to do during the winter, because, well, you don’t want to go outside. Mind you, it does beat 90+ degree weather with 100% humidity. I have acclimated to the cold, because 32 degrees outside it feels great now. There are some days where you have to just stay under the covers. You don’t feel like getting out of your pajamas, and you just want to flip through the Netflix catalog for 30 minutes. You have to get yourself out of that hole sometimes because life does go on. Here are a few things that help me when I’m in this situation.
Get a hobby.
Reading a book or walking the dog is fine, but it really helps if you do something you love. Especially something that has a tangible outcome. For example, I write for different websites on subjects I love. This really helps me feel accomplished after I finished the article. It helps me cope with my negative mindset. I have always felt like I was ‘a failure’ or ‘not good enough’. I was conditioned to feel that way, and part of it is my depression talking. I still struggle with this, and it’s hard to rewire your thinking process. However, it gives me some relief when I create something that I put so much effort into.
Socialize somehow, some way.
I know that depression isn’t something you get over like a light switch. Even if you know you are going to have a good time, you still have a sinking feeling. You will have your ‘what ifs’, your doubts, you over thinking things. That’s okay. Try to push through it, and go outside. You don’t have to necessarily go out with friends, just go to a public place. When I feel down, I like to go to a local coffee shop, and just write or read. You aren’t engaging with people directly, but you are sharing a space with other people willingly. That gives you a sense of community.
Take care of yourself.
We live in a society where we are conditioned to feel like we have to give every piece of ourselves, and self-care is a sign of weakness. So many people have health problems due to stress, and we don’t take the time to care for our emotional and mental well-being. There are two things you should do when it comes to self-care: make sure you are seeing a doctor or a therapist. You need to have some regulation in your life to help cope with depression. I can’t stress this enough. This keeps you sane. Even if you think medicine isn’t the right path for you, you need a professional guiding your decisions.
The second thing is fulfilling your wants. I’m not saying go spend hundreds on things. If you don’t have expendable income, then take a hot bath or exercise. What helps me is a hot bath with candles and a bath bomb. I just relax for a while or read a book. I focus on doing yoga, something that will keep me relaxed.
I hope that if you are struggling with seasonal depression, this helps. I have dealt with it for so long untreated. It sucks. It sucks when you don’t know what’s going on with you, and you don’t know what to do. I know it feels hopeless, but you can live with depression in a healthy way. It is going to take time and patience, but you can do it.