Snapping out of the winter blues: 5 tips for battling seasonal depression

Summer is a period of fruition, fulfillment, happiness or beauty. Winter is a period of time characterized by coldness, misery, barrenness or death.—

Well, unfortunately for many of us, that definition just about hits the nail on the head. The beauty of autumn has passed. All of the beautiful leaves have fallen from the trees and have been raked, bagged and tossed away. The air is colder and the days are darker. We leave for work and school when it’s dark and return home to darkness all over again.

For some, winter is a festive time of year marked by holiday gatherings and the excitement of snow. For others, the chilly season triggers anxiety and depression. Here are the top five tips for how to shed a little sunlight on your seasonal sadness.

1. Get outside.

Bundle up and spend as much time as you can outside now and through the duration of the winter season. This will help you store any sun exposure you currently have. Additionally, sunlight is the most important weapon against seasonal depression, so use it to your advantage.

2. If you can afford it, buy a light box.

As the winter months allow less sun exposure, these nifty little devices can give you a boost when natural sunlight cannot.

3. Look forward.

Be a proactive and forward thinker. Get your holiday shopping done early. Start making plans and preparing for upcoming events, vacations, projects or whatever interests you. Keeping your mind and calendar busy will make all the difference.

4. Know your limits.

Although it is extremely important to stay engaged with family, friends and communities, know when to say “no.” Do not be afraid to say “no,” rather than overwhelming yourself with further anxiety. And if you do find yourself in a pickle, do not be afraid to ask for help!

5. Exercise.

Whether it is a leisurely bike ride, a brisk walk or squats at your desk, be sure to get the blood moving every single day. Elevate your heart rate. Make time for this and put it on the daily calendar. Exercise is mental therapy.

As we inch our way closer to the “thick of it” in terms of the winter season, keep these tips in mind and take control of your mental health.