February 1, 2019 Whether positive or negative, many people experience a shift in mood, thoughts and feelings that parallel with the shift of the seasons. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), every year in the US nearly 5% of the population experience a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as seasonal depression. What is it about the seasonal changes that cause this to happen? Some common differences are light levels outside, limitation of outdoor activity and even the time change from Daylight Saving Time. SAD may ease off when the season changes again, but it can cause some people mild to debilitating depression for months at a time. If you find your mood shifting around certain times of year, take time to protect your mental health and learn to make the season transition a more stable time of year. Here are eight tips that may help turn darker days to lighter ones:
1) Volunteer – Giving back to the community can boost your mood and satisfaction.
2) Walk in Nature – On a sunny, cold day, bundle up with a thick jacket, sweater and comfortable shoes and go for a nature walk. Take frequent deep breaths and enjoy the moment you have with nature.
3) Read – If the weather is too bad to go outside, reading books stimulates your thinking, enables you to think creatively, improves concentration, and increases vocabulary and knowledge.
4) Be Kind to Yourself – Take time for self-care and self-love, whether it’s a nice warm bath, facials, manicure/pedicure, exercise or even just taking a nap.
5) Journal – Journaling is a way to release your thoughts on to paper without judgment.
6) Stay Hydrated – Staying hydrated during the cold months can be challenging, but your body needs water to function properly so staying hydrated is crucially important.
7) Join A Peer Support Group – A big part of depression is isolation. It is important to surround yourself with the people who help you feel connected.
8) Make A Happy Jar – The Happy Jar is filled with post-it notes of happy moments that you have each day.
For more information on this topic please visit www.nami.org.