Winter Depression

Winter Depression

Shadow and sunlight.

Day and night, shadow and sunlight, winter and summer … life is full of opposites and we are adjusting to them on and on. In summer we wish it were a little cooler, so we could do more work. In winter we wish days were longer and sunnier, so we would have more energy. All those wishes are expression of control we would like to have over natural phenomena. In reality, a wise thing to do is to adapt and expect less, when it is too hot or when the lack of sunlight is making our brain sluggish.

One thing we can do is not make any big plans for winter, if we know that our brain responds with depression to lack of sunlight in winter. That way we will take unnecessary disappointment out of equation.

Another thing, next to medication and official light therapy, is to use the sunny weekends for walks in nature instead of staying glued to the TV set.

Regular exercise also won’t hurt. Choose the type you can do indoors and seems most appealing to you.

You can also use CBT methods like writing down all your depressed thoughts and replacing them on paper with positive ones one by one. For example: “I am not good at work.” Can be replaced with “I do my best at work.”

Another helpful method is to write down a timetable that one can follow in times, when the feeling that there is nothing one can engage in sets it. Also a list of possible activities would do in such cases. You will be amazed at the number of possibilities, if you take your time and write them down before you get depressed. It’s funny how depression hides all ideas of what one could do and then we find ourselves sitting on a couch convinced that there is actually nothing to do.

Last but not least, when depression is so deep that one cannot find the strength to get out of bed, visualizing spring scenery can be helpful. It might give us just enough energy to be able to get out of bed and catch a glimpse of that list of activities on the wall.

Take care,

Helena Smole, author of Balancing the Beast

2 Responses to “ “Winter Depression”

  1. Nick Stokes says:

    Nicely written Helena. Your tips for overcoming winter depression are very good and helpful.
    Since you are an expert in the field of depression, I would like to invite you to read and share your opinion about article on depression that my company recently finished. Do you mind to email you the link?

    • Helena Smole says:

      I’ve read your article and I’ve sent you an e-mail with my remarks. I’ve also tweeted the link to it. Thank you for your insightful text!

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