While autumn is in full swing, our morale is inspired by the leaves and falls to its lowest. Lack of light, falling temperatures, and rain the reasons for this seasonal depression that overwhelms us are numerous. People suffering from seasonal depression experience many symptoms of traditional depression: irritability, sadness, lack of energy, increased appetite, and discomfort.
And these symptoms return at the same time each year, from the month of October when the sunshine time decreases significantly. If this is your case or if someone you know is affected by seasonal depression, here are some tips to push it back before the return of spring!
1. Do light therapy
It’s the first thing to add to your life if you tend to get depressed when fall arrives. Light therapy requires only 20 to 30 minutes daily and will really make you feel less tired and depressed. In addition, these few minutes will be time just for you! Get in the habit of enjoying your lamp while you enjoy your coffee each morning. You can also purchase a wake-up light that simulates dawn to wake you up gently!
2. Keep moving and eating well
When the dullness sets in, it’s harder to maintain good exercise and healthy eating habits. The second serving of apple pie and the bag of crisps are much more tempting than the idea of putting on your boots and coat for a walk in the rain (or snow) at night when it’s already dark when you leave the office or when you close your computer. Here are some tips for maintaining your good habits:
Go out for a walk at lunchtime, get active on your property to pick up leaves, shovel snow from your driveway, or do other work if you are able, and start a new activity.
Find yourself a training partner (you will be less tempted not to go!)
If you don’t feel like exercising outside, sign up for the gym, a dance class, or anything you want to do.
Allow yourself to eat a bit of everything, just pay attention to the portions, because if you eat a lot, you can feel more tired. And if it is anxiety-provoking to deprive yourself and make yourself feel guilty, food can still be the cause of a lack of long-term motivation. Stay conscious of your diet, vary the pleasures on your plate, and don’t blame yourself for the treats that make you feel good!
Don’t forget to hydrate yourself properly. When it’s cold, we often drink less, but we must not slack off. Add herbal teas and teas to your routine; in addition to warming you up, they will help you stay hydrated.
If you need to fill a deficiency, include a vitamin D supplement in your routine.
3. Make sure you get enough vitamin D
Since we live in a northern country, when autumn comes and the sunshine time decreases, it is possible to lack vitamin D in our system. Moreover, Health Canada recommends that people aged 50 and over take a vitamin D supplement on a regular basis. In any case, it is essential to ensure that you eat foods that contain vitamin D on a daily basis, including:
Fatty fish, such as salmon and rainbow trout
Unsweetened fortified plant-based beverages, such as soy beverages.
If you believe that your diet does not provide you with enough vitamin D, consult your pharmacist. He can advise you on a supplement adapted to your needs to add to your diet to reduce the symptoms of a deficiency, including seasonal fatigue.
4. Turn to medication, if necessary
It is possible that, despite your best efforts to thwart seasonal depression, you need medication to feel better. We then speak mainly of antidepressants that your doctor may prescribe depending on the severity of your symptoms.
Remember that seasonal depression is a disease like any other and may need to be treated with pills. And just because your neighbor manages to overcome the symptoms doesn’t mean you can too. Listen to your body and respect your limits. If medication is a solution for you, don’t deprive yourself of it, even if it can be difficult to come to this conclusion.
5. Consider psychotherapy
According to a study by The American Journal of Psychiatry, cognitive behavioral therapy would be effective in treating seasonal depression. If you have the possibility, start psychotherapy with a therapist who has this approach to help you better manage the lack of light. This form of therapy would also have long-term effects on the symptoms of seasonal depression. This is a good investment for your mental and physical health!
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