person standing on road in snowy forestSummer often feels like it’s here and gone in the blink of an eye. In comes autumn with shorter days, colder nights, and the rush of the holiday season. It would be wonderful if we could hunker down and hibernate until the spring. Instead, we end up cooped up inside, binging on tv shows late into the night, and snacking on junk food. When the holidays arrive, they come with all kinds of financial and emotional stresses. Whether hosting guests, taking a trip home, or simply feeling a little lonely, the holidays are a big trigger for many of us.

Here are 3 tips to help you manage seasonal depression.

Start Prepping Early

You know the drill. If you struggle with seasonal depression, you’ve been through it before. It still has a way of sneaking up though, doesn’t it? Instead of letting yourself slide slowly into a midwinter funk, plan to give yourself some breaks. Take a couple of minutes and plan out what you want your winter to look like.

  • What traditions weigh you down? Consider replacing them with something new, or taking a year off to give yourself a break.
  • How are you going to keep yourself busy during the winter months? What are some things you’ll miss about the spring, summer, and fall? How can you bring them into your winter life?
  • Set some spending limits. Financial stresses over the holiday season are no joke. Putting some guard rails in place can help you stay sane.
  • Are you taking any trips? If so, think ahead about your accommodations. Do you want to stay with family, or would you rather get a hotel or stay with a friend so you have an escape route?
  • Think about the second half of the winter season, after the holidays are done. Do you need a warm weather break? This might be a good time for a road trip or a change of scenery.

Plan for Self-Care

You can also plan by thinking about how you’re going to take care of yourself. Some examples might include:

  • Make a simple plan to get out of town for a day trip, or take a day off from work to sneak in a long weekend you can keep to yourself. This doesn’t have to be ambitious—you don’t need another source of stress.
  • Buy some warm clothes you enjoy! You want to feel comfortable going on short walks around the neighborhood or getting outside. Sunlight and exercise are key to staving off seasonal depression.
  • Think about winter hobbies and activities that can keep you busy. It’s a good time for indoor activities like classes or meetups. Better yet, go looking for your inner child by indulging your creative spark.

Stay Connected

Seasonal depression goes hand-in-hand with a desire to isolate, which can further dampen our spirits. While it’s certainly harder to get out and meet people in the wintertime, it’s also a good time to look into alternative ways to stay connected. A few options might be an online book club with friends and family, scheduling some time to play board games, or even a night out for karaoke. Even for the introverts among us, social interaction comes with a shot of dopamine that helps us brighten our mood during the darkest months.

 Some other ways you can stay connected include:

  • Volunteering at a local organization like the SPCA.
  • Attending a support group for people with seasonal depression.
  • Trying out some outdoor winter activities, like skiing, hiking, or ice skating.
  • Attending indoor yoga, dance, or aerobics classes.

Schedule a Consultation

Reach out today to schedule a consultation for depression treatment. Depression goes hand-in-hand with hopelessness—I would love to help you make a plan for the winter months, and be there to remind you that there are sunny days ahead. I look forward to hearing from you.