Surviving This Year's Seasonal Depression


Depression is not easy to cope with by itself and it can get even worse once the winter rolls in leaving the days colder, shorter, with less light, and overall excruciatingly somber. It’s no surprise, then, that more than 15 million Americans suffer from seasonal depression.

PHOTO: Tumblr

PHOTO: Tumblr

As aforementioned, depression is not easy to handle whether it is seasonal or general. This is especially true when it comes to handling it alone. Blended compiled responses from people who experience seasonal or general depression in order to share their methods in combating the overwhelming thoughts, feelings, and actions that may arise as a result of the seasonal change towards colder weather. Here are their personal coping mechanisms, we hope they can help you or someone you know.

I cope with seasonal depression by putting less pressure on myself and by creating smaller goals that are easier to achieve. I think having goals that don’t take too much time helps me become more motivated to do bigger things rather than just completely give up. I also use mindfulness techniques, like deep breathing and meditation, because it helps me stay present rather than worrying about things that I cannot control (like the weather). It also helps me to take time and become aware of the feelings I’m having so that I can build a more positive attitude towards them. I really think the most important thing to do, at least for myself personally, is allowing myself to not always feel okay and accept my seasonal depression for what it is rather than trying so hard to avoid it and act like it doesn’t exist because all that does is make me think about it more.
— Jackie, 20
As a person who has issues with depression and anxiety that turned into self-harm and addiction to multiple substances, coping mechanisms have been vital and often hard to stay loyal to. It’s different for everyone because the first things my doctor and the Internet tell me to try, wouldn’t do anything for me, but simple, personalized methods would. The best thing is to spend time with your friends who support you if you’re lucky enough to have them. If that’s not possible, when I’m down and feel I can’t get out of bed, I look up the funniest videos I know. Vine, YouTube videos, anything that’ll do it for me. It works enough to pull my mind away from certain thoughts and I can keep doing it long enough to remove myself from that state.
— Scott, 20
When it comes to the winter season I definitely have had to try different things to deal with seasonal depression. When it gets colder, I tend to become more “lazy” and I cut back on my usual exercise routines, but I’ve found that when I push myself to get up and exercise it helps me feel more at ease. It doesn’t matter what exercise. It can be going for a run, dancing, taking a cycling class, etc. Reading books has also helped me. I’m currently reading a book called “Big Magic.” It has really helped me when I’m feeling down and has inspired me to gain a more positive outlook on life during some of the dark days. It’s funny how words from a total stranger can have such an impact on someone. One more thing that has helped me is writing things down. It doesn’t have to be a daily journal, but when I’m feeling really sad, and I just feel stuck like nothing will get better, I will write things down. It can be a poem, just random thoughts that I have about my current emotional state, or about the world around me. I am by no means a professional writer, so it doesn’t matter what skill level you are – I’ve found writing to be extremely helpful.
— Victoria, 23
Seasonal depression is something I’ve dealt with for as long as I can remember and it has never followed the calendar seasons in any way. When it does pop up, I normally exercise. I currently exercise daily so regardless if it involves walking outside and listening to music or going to the gym to push some weights around, any form of expression helps combat my depression. Looking and appreciating the small things in life helps a lot too. If you are having a bad day and nothing is going your way, and you’re in the city, go out and walk to a dog park because if you think about it, is there any way to be depressed while looking at good boys play around with one another? If there is one, I don’t know it because dogs are one of my favorite small things that are always abundant in the city. Find what makes you smile and allow yourself to always do what makes you smile at least once a day!
— Jay, 21
For my seasonal depression, I try to bring as much light into my life as I can. I pick the brightest bulb to plant inside my lamp and bright colors become my main source of energy. Dressing vibrantly instead of my usual dark shades for reasons probably psychologically proven help brighten my day in ways I don’t understand. I also embrace the seasonal depression when there are days where getting out of bed is a task to hard to imagine or complete. In layman’s terms seasonal depression sucks, but these methods help make it bearable until the sun and warm weather can appear again.
— L.A., 20

If you or someone you know suffers from depression of any kind, please be sure to seek help. Reach out to loved ones around you or use one of the following resources for guidance from Licensed Mental Health Counselors.

Crisis Text Line: Text CONNECT to 741741 or read here.

Lead Image Credit: Tumblr