By: Nicole Seligman, M.A. | Clinical Extern
Are you noticing a change in your mood as it gets colder outside? Do you find yourself feeling slowed down and have a difficult time waking up in the morning? Surprisingly, 6-14% of people in the United States experience an increase in depression during the winter months, a phenomenon known as major depression disorder with seasonal pattern.* What can you do right now to counter the winter blues?
- Light Therapy. Experience a reduction in symptoms within four days by simply increasing your exposure to light for thirty to ninety minutes in the morning. Light therapy lamps (10,000 lux) are available for low prices.
- Use Mindfulness. Bring mindfulness into your daily lives to reduce the impact of stress and its physiological and psychological effects. Build your awareness to the present moment by paying attention to internal and external experiences on purpose and in a nonjudgmental way.
- Physical Exercise. Exercise enhances coping strategies with stress and improves quality of life. Aerobic exercise done consistently is an antidepressant and maintaining a regular exercise schedule can build mastery.
- Do things now! Take the first step to build motivation and mastery by purposefully scheduling enjoyable and meaningful activities into your week.
*Targum, S. D., & Rosenthal, N. (2008). Seasonal affective disorder. Psychiatry (Edgmont (Pa. : Township)), 5(5), 31-3.