Winter is awful. Sure snowfalls can be pretty, especially around the holidays, but other than that the sun is barely out, it is cold, and it gets dark earlier. It is hard to feel motivated and energetic when the sun literally goes down at 4pm every day. I'm in my apartment ready to go to bed and it's only 8pm. These factors alone can cause a spiral of seasonal depression, or more intense depression for those who have depression year-round. Not only is the weather difficult to deal with, but this time of the year is when everything else also seems to be going downhill. There's midterms, essays, and finals. You're probably getting a little annoyed with your roommates by this point, you miss your family, your friends are all busy with their schoolwork and your schedules never match up, you just want to lay in bed under the covers with a hot drink and Netflix marathons. It's cuffing season, but you're not cuffed. Life is rough. When you feel seasonal depression kicking in, make sure you're taking care of yourself.
No, not 4 hours naps after class sleep, but getting more than 7 hours a night sleep. Getting a good night's sleep keeps you healthy, gives your more energy during the day, and improves your mood. Think about it, if you have enough energy to get your work done during the day then you don't have to stay up doing work until 2am-- a wild concept!
2. Drink water
Hydrate or Dydrate!! Headache? Tired? Nauseous? Stomach issues? Have you been drinking water? No? Weird. Actually, it's not that weird. It's amazing how many physical issues can be cured simply by drinking more water. Also, hot water with lemon and honey works wonders for sore throats for when you're sick.
3. Take Vitamin D
The sun is out way less in the winter and if plants need it to be happy and grow then so do you!! Taking a Vitamin D supplement every day honestly works wonders. Worth a try.
4. Eat healthier
No you don't have to eat kale for every meal and ditch the ice cream, but be conscientious of what you're putting into your body and how it's affecting you. Fruits and vegetables have way more health benefits than processed snacks. Try cooking a fun new meal with your roommates! Make healthier switches here and there. Don't snack when stressed.
5. Call up your significant other / friend with benefits / best friend, etc.
Cuddling boosts oxytocin which relieves stress and anxiety. It also boosts serotonin!! These two combined help keep your immune system. Say no more. Sex also elevates levels of dopamine and serotonin. Another form of Vitamin D, if you will.
Put on your Lizzo playlist and hit the gym or go for a run! Heck, do yoga in your living room while watching Disney+. "Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy!" -Elle Woods, Legally Blonde
7. Reduce stress
Stress happens, it's not something that we can completely control. However, there are some things that we can do to ease the stress in our lives to be healthier emotionally and physically. As previously mentioned, sleep, staying hydrated, eating well, physical affection, and exercise are all great ways to reduce stress. We can live healthier lifestyles not only by our actions but by our mindset as well. Putting your current stress into perspective can be surprisingly helpful.
Think: What are the consequences of the thing that is causing my stress? Are there things out of my control? Will this matter in a month? Is this more detrimental to my health than beneficial?
Taking deep breaths legit decreases anxiety. Breathe in as long as you can and breathe out. You got this!
9. Cut out toxic people
You deserve more than second thoughts, maybes, "I don't know"s, being left on read, etc. If someone is causing more hurt in your life than good, cut them out.
10. Find time for what you love
Taking time for things that make you feel good are just as important and as effective as studying. Your mind and body need time to relax, regroup, and recharge. Make sure you're finding the time to read a book for fun, lay in your bed and listen to music, watch Netflix, go out with your friends, sit in a coffee shop and chill-- whatever you love, do it.
Hopefully some of these tips help kick seasonal depression's butt!