Variety is the spice of life. That’s one of the reasons why people like having different seasons. It makes our monotone daily routine less…monotone. But what if you’re “lucky” enough to live in a country where one season lasts up to 8 months?
The season I’m referring to is the Welsh winter-ish autumn. Winter-ish because it’s too cold to call it autumn, but at the same time it’s not cold enough to just call it winter. It’s the time when something called a “seasonal depression” occurs (other names: seasonal affective disorder “SAD”, “winter blues”). It comes with the bothersome symptoms like anxiety, extreme mood changes, loss of self-esteem, social problems, and even sexual problems. I never took myself for a depressive type. To be fair, in some countries (the country I come from included) depression isn’t something that’s taken seriously and isn’t considered to be an illness at all. All in all, I was surprised to have found myself, quite simply, depressed.
A true millennial, the first thing I do when I encounter something I haven’t faced before is – I Google it. One of the first things Google told me was that identifying a problem (confessing to yourself that you are, indeed, depressed) is a good first step. Now give yourself a little pat on the back if you admitted to someone (maybe just yourself) that you’re depressed. The second important thing I found on the net was that SAD is very common, but treatable. Meaning you don’t have to sit it out waiting for the summer to come and cure your mind and soul. There are actual ways of fighting this.
1. Get outdoors!
I know. It’s gloomy and most likely rainy. Who wants to be outdoors? But try and look at it from a different angle: getting wet is only horrible when you’re cycling to work or if you’re late for a meeting. What if you just went out to enjoy the rain? Look up and count the most peculiar clouds in the sky? Or maybe it’s just a little walk outside to a cozy coffee place that you love. Anything that gets you out and about is good.
2. A happy body makes a happy mind
Once you got yourself out and about, look into arranging some regular exercise. The important thing here is not to overdo it: don’t go for circus trapeze if you’ve got a fear of heights. Something simple like swimming or jogging will do.
3. Bring more colour and light into your life
This one may seem a bit silly, but if you happen to be a visual person, the look of your surroundings might affect your mood greatly. Summer and early autumn brings a lot of colour into our lives, and then it disappears for good several months. Good news is, it’s an easy fix. Print out some colourful posters for your room, add a string of fairy lights, maybe get yourself that bright-coloured hat that will both make you stand out from the crowd and keep you warm (and dry). If you belong to the world of freelance, consider changing your sleeping schedule to prolong the daylight hours for yourself. I know you think you’re a born “ night owl” – a sloth by day and a hardworking individual by night, but in most cases that’s only a habit. Maybe your body just misses vitamin D.
4. Stay connected
With the weather changing from “somewhat pleasant” to “ugh, again?” we all seem to spend more time indoors and on our own. Feeling blue, together with the lack of social interaction can cause you to feel a bit of a cabin fever (a reaction that takes place when a person ends up in an isolated location, or stuck indoors), which will only make your SAD worse. You don’t even have to go outside to avoid this one. If the weather isn’t lush, invite someone over for a cup of hot chocolate or an Xbox game – it’s the simple things that matter.
5. Treat yourself
Talking about simple things. We get so swamped with work, house chores and our everyday routine, that we easily forget what truly makes us happy. I realised how little I read lately, when it used to be my favourite thing in the world. Maybe you have a musical instrument that you bought an X amount of time ago when you wanted to learn to play it, and now it just sits there. A walk in the park, a massage session, cinema or shopping – whatever soothes your soul. Treat yourself to an hour or two of that very thing you always liked but never had time to do. It’ll pay off in the long run.
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