Self-Care Tips for Seasonal Depression
Winter is upon us, and if like me, you suffer from seasonal depression, having tools at hand that help you manage your moods and feel more like yourself are vital. These are some of the rituals I created for myself which help me relax, de-stress and stay mentally healthy during the cold winter months. They are simple, cheap and easy to do. There are of course ton of ways to manage seasonal depression. Self-care is a very personal thing and what works for one may not for work all. But I wanted to give a you a few ideas if you are struggling during this season. I had a particularly bad bout of seasonal depression last year and these are the things that helped me the most.
Create a safe space
This is what I’ve found to be the most important for me. And when I say safe space I mean someplace where you can completely relax. A safe haven, if you will. This can really be anywhere in your home that is a place you enjoy. Mine is my bedroom. Feeling cozy is something that is very important to me during the winter. I love spaces I can sink into. I did this by purchasing all new bedding (this is not required but it helped me). I purchased a new plush comforter, a fuzzy faux fur throw blanket, and new pillows. My bed is now like a cloud and I immediately feel more relaxed and calm when I climb into bed.
Find your scents
There is a reason why it’s called aromatherapy. I have found 2-3 scents that I love and that I try to keep present in my room. You can achieve this with oil diffusers, room sprays, I opted for scented candles. Three of my personal favorites are from Bath & Body Works. As soon as I come home, I light my candle of choice for the evening. Just be sure to choose scents that are relaxing - not stimulating. Three of my favorite scents are lavender, chamomile, and sage.
Have a ritual
When you get home from work are you a bit scattered? Do you have a hard time shutting work off? Having a plan or ritual for when you come is essential in helping with this. When I come home from work two things happen immediately: I take off my makeup and work clothes and put on my comfies as I call them. I don’t hang around in what I’ve worn that day. By doing this it sends a signal to my brain that the work day is over and I can think about other things.Once I’ve done this I usually make myself a cup of tea along with a few cookies and climb onto my bed. I spend 10 minutes drinking my tea and eating my cookies and this helps me transition from work mode into relax mode.
Take a break from social media
I am not always good about this. Like everyone else, I am addicted to my phone. I do everything on it. And social media is one of those things that can be hard to step away from - especially if you use it for work like I do. But in the current world climate social media can often increase our anxiety and worsen depression. It certainly does for me. During Ramadan I took an entire month off from Facebook and Twitter. It was hard for the first week or so. And then...it wasn’t. I still used my phone and I still did other things on it. But I left social media apps that often pull us into negative engagement alone. My mood improved and my anxiety lessened.
Get out into the light
During winter it can be hard to get any kind of sunlight. I wake up when the sun is down and I come home when the sun is down. Sunlight and - and light therapy - play a vital role in helping with depression and SAD (seasonal affective disorder - the official name of seasonal depression).Taking a short walk in the middle of the day can work wonders. If you live where winters can be pretty cold like I do, look into buying a light therapy lamp. I had always resisted buying a light therapy lamp. It seemed silly and expensive. Well neither of those things are true. There are many types on the market in various price ranges. This one is under $30 and portable.
I hope you all found this tips helpful. Let me know in the comments section some of the things that have helped you!