Dealing With The Winter Blues
For some people, the reduced daylight hours of winter lead to a form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder . SAD can make you feel like a completely different person to who you are in the summer: hopeless, sad, tense, or stressed, with no interest in friends or activities you normally love. No matter how hopeless you feel, though, there are plenty of things you can do to keep your mood stable throughout the year.
Practice These Coping Skills Every Day
I recommend doing many if not all of the following coping skills and techniques once a day when experiencing depression. Its important to know you probably wont be motivated to do any of them at first because depression frequently saps motivation. In other words, know that its normal to feel unmotivated until youre halfway done.
The patients I work with who frequently practice these coping skills get better.The seven techniques can be memorized with the acronym MY PEERS.
1. Meaning: Find small ways to be of service to others.
Find personal meaning by serving something larger than yourself. Remember service doesnt have to be big to count. Consider this, Success, like happiness, cannot be pursued it must ensue as the unintended side effect of ones personal dedication to a course greater than oneself. Viktor E. Frankl, Mans Search for Meaning
2. Your goals: Find workable goals that give you a sense of accomplishment.
Most people feel guilty when talking about goals because they set unreasonable or unworkable goals. A goal is workable if its:
If something goes wrong with your goal, adopt a what can I learn from this? attitude . Also, be careful when comparing your progress with others. We usually compare our biggest weakness with another persons biggest strength. This is unfair .
3. Pleasant Events: Schedule pleasant activities or events.
4. Engagement: Stay in the present.
5. Exercise: And, eat right too.
When Should I Go To The Emergency Room
If you or a loved one has suicidal thoughts, get help. Call your provider, go to an emergency room, call 911 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 800.273.8255. This national network of local crisis centers provides free, confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Its available 24/7.
You May Like: How To Know If Depression Is Getting Worse
Exercise Is Something You Can Do Right Now To Boost Your Mood
Your fatigue will improve if you stick with it. Starting to exercise can be difficult when youre depressed and feeling exhausted. But research shows that your energy levels will improve if you keep with it. Exercise will help you to feel energized and less fatigued, not more.
Find exercises that are continuous and rhythmic. The most benefits for depression come from rhythmic exercisesuch as walking, weight training, swimming, martial arts, or dancingwhere you move both your arms and legs.
Add a mindfulness element, especially if your depression is rooted in unresolved trauma or fed by obsessive, negative thoughts. Focus on how your body feels as you movesuch as the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, or the feeling of the wind on your skin, or the rhythm of your breathing.
Pair up with an exercise partner. Not only does working out with others enable you to spend time socializing, it can also help to keep you motivated. Try joining a running club, taking a water aerobics or dance class, seeking out tennis partners, or enrolling in a soccer or volleyball league.
Take a dog for a walk.If you dont own a dog, you can volunteer to walk homeless dogs for an animal shelter or rescue group. Youll not only be helping yourself but also be helping to socialize and exercise the dogs, making them more adoptable.
Riddhi Doshi Child Pyschologist
People do not seek help in the first instance as they fail to understand themselves that they are suffering from early depression or depression.
Fear of being judged also bothers us as mental health is still taboo. Advice is given not to cry or become emotional.
I wish people would understand how difficult it is for some people even to get out of bed during those days, forget calling anyone.
Yes, getting out of bed, bathing, doing normal chores are a humongous task and a lot of them do it like robots putting it down to stress, or bodily aches and pains or especially in the case of ladies, a sense of womanly duties and being prim and propah all the time. So they try their best to live up to the expectations of family and friends.
To make things worse, looking at those who claim to have it all, further instills a feeling of inadequacy in them and they bottle up even more for the fear of appearing as damaged goods.
Don’t Miss: My Son Is Depressed And Refuses Help
How Can I Best Take Care Of Myself If I Have Seasonal Affective Disorder
Talk to your healthcare provider. By planning ahead, you can manage your symptoms and feel your best.
- Stick to your treatment plan: If you have medications or a lamp for SAD, use them as directed. Follow up with your healthcare provider if you dont see an improvement in your symptoms.
- Care for yourself: Eat a well-balanced diet. Get enough sleep. Exercise regularly. Try to manage stress, perhaps by talking to a counselor or therapist.
- Plan ahead: Make a plan for what youll do if your symptoms get worse. If you notice signs of depression, take action. It might help to plan a lot of activities during these months. Having a busy schedule keeps you from hunkering down at home.
- Start treatment early: Talk to your healthcare provider about preventive treatment. If you know your symptoms start in October, consider starting treatment in September.
- Isolate yourself: Being alone can make your symptoms worse. Even though you may not feel like going out or being social, try to reach out to friends and loved ones.
- Use alcohol or drugs: They might make symptoms worse, and they can interact negatively with antidepressants.
What Causes Survivors Guilt
To better understand the complex causes behind survivors guilt, we need to look at two different sets of factors.
First, you have a potentially traumatic experience in which you are directly or indirectly involved.
Some examples of catastrophes which may set the stage for survivors guilt are:
- Natural disasters
- Epidemics and pandemics
- War and civil unrest
- Chronic disease
As I mentioned, survivors guilt sets in weeks after a tragic event from which you somehow escaped relatively unharmed.
Being among the few who survive a severe form of cancer or the only one to escape from a burning building are two examples of situations where you may experience guilt and shame.
Its also important to note that first responders such as police officers, firefighters, or ER doctors are at risk of developing survivors guilt.
But not everyone involved in a tragic event will develop survivors guilt.
This brings us to our second set of factors past experiences and current mental health status.
You May Like: What Is The Difference Between Depression And Grief
How To Diagnose And Treat Depression
How Can I Take Care Of Myself
Once you begin treatment, you should gradually start to feel better. Go easy on yourself during this time. Try to do things you used to enjoy. Even if you dont feel like doing them, they can improve your mood. Other things that may help:
- Try to get some physical activity. Just 30 minutes a day of walking can boost mood.
- Try to maintain a regular bedtime and wake-up time.
- Eat regular, healthy meals.
- Do what you can as you can. Decide what must get done and what can wait.
- Try to connect with other people, and talk with people you trust about how you are feeling.
- Postpone important life decisions until you feel better.
- Avoid using alcohol, nicotine, or drugs, including medications not prescribed for you.
Also Check: Anxiety And Depression Treatment Center Newport Beach
Unhealthy Coping Skills And Lack Of Social Support
Although some may be stronger than others, no one is unbreakable.
When faced with tragedy, regardless of whether you were a victim or witness, you need time and support to recover and process the event.
Unfortunately, many who fail to process such events resort to alcohol and drugs to cope with the painful emotions associated with trauma.
On top of that, social isolation is also an issue among people with PTSD and survivors guilt.
Long story short, regardless of how resilient you are, a solid support group can go a long way when processing a traumatic experience.
Practical Steps To Deal With Depression
How does one become depressed? Does it happen as quickly as one catching a cold or is it a process?
Depression creeps up on us and we continue to spiral down it is a process and must be patiently reversed as a process.
Attitudes: We must control our attitudes toward life: Starts in our mind. To get out from the stubborn darkness one must focus energy on Attitudes and Actions! One must think right and do right to fight and dig out from the pit of depression.
Proverbs 23:7 states that,
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.
Or in other words, as a man thinks that is what he becomes.
Read Also: Major Depressive Disorder Medication List
Healing From Depression The 6 Proven Non
Depression steals people. So far, despite the colossal investment of resources, there is still no reliably effective treatment. What we know for sure is that antidepressants just arent working. According to Dr Stephen Ilardi, respected psychologist, university professor and author of The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression Without Drugs, antidepressants only have about a 50% success rate. Out of the people who do find relief, half of them will relapse, taking the actual recovery rate to 25%. Then there are the side effects, such as emotional blunting, weight gain and sexual dysfunction.
When antidepressants fail to deliver, the hopelessness that lies at the heart of depression becomes even more brutal. If we could immunise ourselves and the people we love against depression, wed be lining up. There is no immunisation, but a growing body of research is finding that there are ways to protect ourselves from depression and alleviate any existing symptoms, particularly for mild to moderate depression.
Its about certain lifestyle factors six of them and the difference they can make to each of us, depressed or otherwise, is phenomenal. The claims may sound extravagant, but science is proving them over and over. The evidence is too compelling for us not to take notice.
Signs Of Depression At Work
Here are some signs that you may be working while depressed:
- Missing work:It could be you start calling in sick or make excuses for needing a personal day.
- Trouble concentrating:Just cant keep your mind focused on work? If it feels like youre in a fog all the time or in a hopeless state of mind, this can be an indication that youre trying to work while depressed.
- Missed deadlines and goals:Inability to get work done or complete tasks, avoidance of phone calls and meetings, failing to achieve personal or career goalsthese can be signs of depression at work.
- Feelings of depression only when youre at work:It could be that your workplace is the cause of depression. If youre largely overcome with depression while at work, but not as much elsewhere, it could be that feelings of depression are driven by your job. Serious workplace issues like harassment, discrimination, abuse, and bullying can eventually lead to feelings of depression, if left unaddressed.
- Fatigue and lack of energy:Tired all the time? Feel like you have no energy to do your job? Persistent fatigue can be a sign of depression.
Also Check: Where Do You Get Diagnosed With Depression
Pinpoint Outside Factors That Have Caused The Tragedy
A crucial part of overcoming survivors guilt is adjusting your perspective on the tragedy you witnessed or went through.
That means putting aside the things that could have been done to prevent it and pinpointing the factors that have caused it.
One way you can do this is by making a pie chart and adding as many external factors as possible.
Lets say you were involved in a car accident, and even though you were sitting in the front passenger seat, you blame yourself for not doing something to prevent this tragedy.
Heres an example of how you can reframe the situation by taking into account different factors that have contributed to the car accident:
To unload the burden of excessive responsibility, you need to take a step back and look at the situation more objectively.
Youll discover that many of the factors that caused a tragedy were out of your control.
Get Help From A Mental Health Provider
If youve tried everything else and your loved one still hasnt gotten better, then it might be a good idea to ask for professional help from a mental health professional. Suppose they have agreed to see someone about their depression but arent taking any of the steps that need to be taken to get better .
In that case, this is an indicator that something more serious might be going on, such as a mental illness or maybe even obsessive-compulsive disorder. In these cases, its best if somebody close to them takes charge by forcing them into getting the treatment they need.
Also Check: Best Type Of Meditation For Depression
Reach Out To Friends And Family
A lot of guys hide feeling depressed from the very people that could help the most.
Talking about whats causing you stress or bringing you down can help lessen the intensity of these thoughts. Give those closest to you a chance to help out. Here are some tips on talking to a friend or family member.
Tip : Get A Daily Dose Of Sunlight
Sunlight can help boost serotonin levels and improve your mood. Whenever possible, get outside during daylight hours and expose yourself to the sun for at least 15 minutes a day. Remove sunglasses and use sunscreen as needed.
- Take a walk on your lunch break, have your coffee outside, enjoy an al fresco meal, or spend time gardening.
- Double up on the benefits of sunlight by exercising outside. Try hiking, walking in a local park, or playing golf or tennis with a friend.
- Increase the amount of natural light in your home and workplace by opening blinds and drapes and sitting near windows.
- If you live somewhere with little winter sunshine, try using a light therapy box.
Don’t Miss: What Happened During The Great Depression
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
We can all help prevent suicide. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States. Call 1-800-273-8255 to get help on mental health advice.
Volunteering Can Be A Great Way To Do Both
Knock out a few birds with one stone spending time with other people and doing something new by volunteering and giving your time to someone or something else.
You may be used to receiving help from friends, but reaching out and providing help may actually improve your mental health more.
Bonus: People who volunteer experience physical benefits, too. This includes a
Don’t Miss: What Is A Good Medicine For Anxiety And Depression
What You Should Do
- At such times talk to someone you trust. Being listened to helps. Reach out to family, friends, counselors, helplines. There is a lot of help available.
- When one communicates their anxiety to a counselor, they are guided by showing them coping skills which would help them deal with the situation.
- Talking helps even if it is to a stranger, as you have nothing to hide from them, at times writing down your feelings also helps.
- You get it off your chest and feel much lighter. Life is precious.treasure it.
Do Things That Elevate Your Mood
Do things that make you feel good and energize you. This can involve following a healthy lifestyle, setting limits to work/studies, etc. You can also schedule activities that you enjoy doing, such as reading a book, writing, watching a show, painting, etc.
We understand that you cannot push yourself to have fun, but you can push yourself to do things that bring you joy, even when you dont feel like it. Youll immediately feel more upbeat and energetic as you make time for your hobbies or a sport that you like.
You could also take a trip with friends. Make sure you keep your stress in check by practicing relaxation techniques. While all this is going on, aim for 8 hours of sleep.
You can also develop a wellness bucket to deal with things :
- Spend some time outside, and soak in the sun.
- Make a point to read a good book, listen to a podcast or calming music every day.
- Do something spontaneous for once.
Don’t Miss: Does Depression Qualify For Fmla