#Blogtober20 – Day 15
Arguably, Autumn is the best time of year, especially in the Pacific North West. The leaves fall and change colors, the streets and roads are filled with orange, yellow, and brown shades, there are dozens of pumpkin patches that cover acres of land in nearly every city, and Halloween and Thanksgiving are right around the corner (enough said). But with that, for myself and many others, comes the case of the seasonal depressions.
Especially in the great PNW, the rain kicks up a notch around this time, filling the skies and atmosphere with a sense of gloom and despair. The winds shake off the colorful leaves off of the trees and the leaves fall to their death, enjoying their last bit of life’s breath before they turn dark brown, then black. Most people thought that COVID-19 would be gone around this time, but that adds another pit of gloom and despair. Most businesses are struggling to remain open at a quarter to half capacity. It’s hard enough for local businesses when the seasons change; no one wants to go out unless it’s to a coffee shop to warm your bones.
Not to the mention the days are shorter, I wake up when it’s dark out and by 5pm, it’s already dark out. Every day is a brisk 50 degrees cold, with a windchill making it feel much colder. No wonder my depression has been so terrible lately! I have nothing to be depressed about; I got everything going for me, yet I can’t help but feel sad.
It is hard for me to feel happy when I can’t walk or get around like I want to quite yet. This week I have been going out more, but my frustration boils over due to my exhaustion while using my crutches to get around. Not the mention the uncertainty of my future is looming over me, which causes some moderate anxiety. So what can be done about the case of the seasonal depressions?
1. Take Vitamin D
It seems silly to even list this, but with the sun gone most days, it is important for everyone to get their source of vitamin D. It helps boost immunity and can help with bouts of depression.
2. Talk to your Loved Ones
Some people you wouldn’t even dream of dealing with seasonal depression are usually the ones that get hit with depression the hardest. Talk to your parents, siblings, cousins, aunts/uncles, whomever. Ask them how they are doing with this new season of life, especially with COVID-19 still running rampant in the U.S. It’s hard for us to be okay and it’s okay to not be okay. Check in on your loved ones because nobody is going to take better care of them than you are.
I don’t mean vigorous work outs either, although you could. If it’s not raining, go for a morning or evening walk, go with someone or walk your dog. If you don’t have a dog, walk your neighbor’s dog who has trouble getting out and about. Go for even fifteen minutes, just to clear your head and to see some scenery. Exercise boosts the happy chemicals in your brain that make you feel, well, happy.
4. Practice Self Care
One of the easiest, yet hardest thing to do for a person is to take care of themselves; to prioritize their own needs and desires before others. But without positive mental health, you simply cannot positively take care of others and expect them to feel that you aren’t a burden.
One way to do this is to wake up a little earlier than you normally do, or to stay up a little later once everyone has gone to bed. With that, you can have your alone time to watch that TV show you’ve been wanting to binge watch, to pray, to paint, to write, to work out, etc. By doing this, you are positively adding to your self care routine, which boosts how you feel and how others perceive how you feel.
It can be hard to talk to others or even exercise due to COVID-19 with the laws and regulations placed in your state or country from the global pandemic. But as long as you have a phone or a computer, you can video chat, make a phone call, send a text or an email to those you care about and can stay in contact through social media as well. It’s not ideal to see your friends and family via video chat, but it’s better than losing contact altogether.
There are also ways to exercise while limiting going to the gym. You can always do at home work out routines through YouTube or go for walks on some local trails or run in the local park or on the street. As long as these areas aren’t too crowded and can maintain social distancing, you wouldn’t even need to wear a mask! But it’s always good to bring a mask with you in case you have to endure a crowded area and can’t social distance.
Self care and taking certain vitamins and medication for depression can be hard, but are very necessary so you can do your daily tasks. Without vitamins and medication, you can struggle with severe fatigue and exhaustion as well as feelings of sadness and hopelessness, which nobody should have to struggle with. I know for me personally, I struggle with finding the motivation to do the things I enjoy and those things I normally enjoy no longer bring me pleasure is a huge sign that my seasonal depression has peaked. When that happens, my advice to you and myself is to journal and keep track of your moods or mood swings. Keep doing what would normally make you happy, but track your emotions when your self care coping mechanisms don’t make you happy.
With all that being said, it’s not always easy to pinpoint what causes seasonal depression or if there is a cure for it, I’m not in the loop about it. But there are certain things everyone can and should be doing to help with their seasonal depression, whether you be struggling with it for the first time or you struggle with it year after year.
Tell me in the comments what you do for your seasonal depression!