Fall means changing leaves, warm apple cider, and the beginnings of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Seasonal Depression isn’t just an excuse people make so they can go curl up in a fuzzy blanket and do nothing–it’s real, and it sucks. Less daylight, cold temps, and general dreariness makes for the perfect combination. But dealing with SAD doesn’t have to be totally sad.
These may not be total remedies, but maybe they’ll help you understand what’s going on and cope momentarily.
Light boxes and lamps that mimic the suns rays may just improve your mood, says multiple medical sources. They help improve circadian rhythms and get rid of winter blahs. Of course, they’re no replacement for therapy, but for less than $40, they may be just enough to lift your spirits.
Looking at a screen for too long makes me crabby every day of the year, so taking a break and opting for a book might allow you to feel more whole. Hyperbole and a Half is a fun read, filled with comics of one girl’s struggles with daily life. Some pages really do hit home in terms of mental illness. The Little Book of Hygge talks all about Denmark’s pride and joy that is happy living. It’s filled with DIYs, recipes, and small life changes you can make to have a more warm, cozy, hygge life.
Essential Oil Diffuser
Did you know smell is the sense most linked to memories? So I guess that could mean good or bad memories. But, smell is also linked to a highly emotional part of the brain, so an essential oil diffuser may be a relatively cheap and easy way to change your emotions. Essential oils like lavender and chamomile are known for being the most helpful for depression.
Take a walk
Getting outside of where you currently are, be it your home, your car, your workplace, may be just what you need for your funk to momentarily subside. Take a five, ten, fifteen minute walk around your neighborhood, or even the parking lot, focusing on what you see, what you hear, and how you’re breathing. Too cold? Walk up and down a couple flights of stairs in your house, apartment, or work building, counting the steps. Once you reach 10, start again at 1.
The idea of meditating turned me off at first because I only associated it with yogis who had white people dreds. But mediation can really be for everyone. The app Headspace makes it easy. You get a free 10-session trial, and every session is just 10 minutes. It’s made for people on the go, and it’s narrated by a man with an Australian accent who assumes you’re sitting at your desk at work. So it’s accessible and doesn’t take much effort to buy into the whole idea. It’s nice to take 10 minutes to press reset on your current state.
Of course, none of these are replacements for professional help. Professional counseling and therapy are probably the best options for managing depression and/or mental health. If you or someone you know is in serious danger, contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 (U.S. only).