Seasonal Depression Remedies to Try This Year
Seasonal depression exists but so do seasonal depression remedies. Seasonal depression exists in my part of the world, where winter brings with it subzero temperatures and short hours of sunlight. This can make even the most chipper of us feel down. Whether it's winter blahs or full-blown seasonal affective disorder (SAD), it's not fun to experience, and sufferers want to get better quickly. I've recently had a bout and here's my three things to try for seasonal depression.
Three Seasonal Depression Remedies That Help Me
1. Multivitamin Drinks
While we supposedly can get all our nutrients through a balanced diet, do you actually know anyone who eats five servings of vegetables a day? Neither do I. And in the winter, we don't get as much vitamin D from the sun as we normally do, so we could be low in that at the very least. The answer to seasonal depression could be vitamin supplementation. Whenever my symptoms flare up, my vitamin levels are the first thing we check, and for good reason: that's usually the culprit (Is Your Depression Caused By Your Diet?). But vitamin pills frequently have fillers your body needs to break down to absorb the vitamins. The way around this may be vitamin-rich beverages such as EcoDrink.
At my annual checkup, I told my nurse practitioner that I woke up tired and had very little energy throughout the day. She told me that was a common side effect from the medications that I'm on and to talk to my psychiatrist. I heard about one of those fad drinks promising more energy and weight loss and went online to order some. After an exhaustive search comparing and contrasting products, I found a brand that works for me and bought a box--I didn't notice any change until after I'd been on it for about a week, when I discovered if I drank the multivitamin drink, I didn't need my morning coffee to wake up. I felt more alert throughout the day, and I actually felt healthy (those of you who've felt alive and had symptoms come back know what I mean).
In the past, the main culprits for my symptoms flaring up are iron deficiency and vitamin D deficiency. If you suffer from either of these, you will feel it. Talk to your doctor about multivitamins--it's amazing how something so little could make such a big difference, but I'm proof it works.
2. Sun Lamps or Light Therapy Boxes
Light therapy boxes, as the Mayo Clinic calls them, can be a remedy for seasonal depression. They are especially powerful when combined with medication and counseling. Talk with your doctor about light therapy (SAD Light: Seasonal Depression Light Therapy for SAD).
A word of warning: this may not be helpful for bipolar disorder (Does Light Therapy for Depression, Bipolar Depression Work?). The Mayo Clinic warns that increasing exposure too quickly or using a light box for "too long" may trigger manic symptoms.
There are many good lamps out there, but the Mayo Clinic recommends that the lamp emits as little UV light as possible and emits at least 10,000 lux of light. Typical recommendations include using the light box for 20 to 30 minutes within an hour of waking up, at a distance of 16 to 24 inches from the face, looking toward but not directly at the light. Make sure you buy one specifically for seasonal affective disorder (SAD)--the ones for skin disorders use UV light, which won't help and could damage your eyes.
3. Stress-Management Techniques
Ten years ago I would have throttled anyone who said this, but stress management techniques--also known as coping skills--work. One thing that works for me is remembering when it has actually been worse. For example, the four months I spent n the dual diagnosis unit at a state hospital were considerably worse than anything I'm facing now, thank goodness. I'm sober. I'm not hallucinating. My meds are working. I have access to medical treatment. I'm free. I'm not subject to random supervised urine tests that I automatically fail if I can't produce urine in an hour. I have a psychiatrist who didn't spend time in federal prison for Medicaid fraud. Shall I go on, or do you get the point?
Counting your blessings works even in a funk. Find that shred of hope and hang on to it for dear life. It's difficult to start but becomes easier as you go. Steal a few from my list--I'm about willing to bet money your psychiatrist doesn't have a suspended license in two states (the one at the state hospital did).
Another thing that helps me manage stress is watching my pets. Not everyone has my taste in pets--I have three rats (Fiona, Boca Raton, and Cocoa)--but almost everyone can find some sort of comfort by watching animals. Don't have a pet? Not a problem--many shelters would love to have someone come in and play with theirs. Or you can watch videos or live feeds of animals online--I know of one shelter that put their cat room on a 24/7 webcam. For me, watching my three rats play is as relaxing as watching an aquarium or kittens (The Therapeutic Value of Animals).
My last bit of advice for stress management for season depression is to try spirituality. I've found my religion is a source of comfort, and my faith community is a great source of strength. What is important is that it works for you and helps you--there's no point staying in a toxic faith system. Find a family through spirit.
So those are my three remedies for seasonal depression to try. What do you do?
Oberg, B. (2016, December 12). Seasonal Depression Remedies to Try This Year, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 21 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2016/12/three-things-to-try-for-seasonal-depression