Seasonal Affective Disorder: depression associated with late autumn and winter; thought to be caused by a lack of light.
I’m someone who suffers from seasonal affective disorder. This means that my depression can be very linked in with the seasons, and almost always gets considerably worse as the days get darker and everything gets a little bit gloomier. For a long time, I hated Christmas and some of this was to do with the fact that I would get very down in the winter.
I can’t explain how the shift happens for me, only that it does. It’s like slowly over a period of time my thoughts become darker, my motivation and positivity feel like they’re being dampened, I become lethargic and suddenly I don’t really want to participate in everyday life. Staying in bed seems like a better option.
And some days, that’s okay.
But most of the time, you can’t really afford to do that. Mentally, it can get you into a really bad place. And as for your other commitments, they usually can’t take a backseat.
So although it can be really hard, I’m going to share some of my tips on how to beat seasonal affective disorder.
Step 1: Brighten your space as much as possible.
It’s believed that something that can trigger seasonal affective disorder in a person is the lack of natural light outside. Therefore something I try to do in the winter is really brighten up the spaces I spend most time. I use my desk lamp, I’ll string up fairy lights all around my room, sometimes I’ll even buy higher watt bulbs. Anything to get more brightness into your space. Currently I have two big soft box lights for my photography and YouTube videos so I’ll turn them on for an extra shot of brightness.
Step 2: Get yourself a cosy night routine.
Something I swear by is setting up routines for yourself. Personally, I always feel waaaay more on top of my sh*t if I have a routine that I stick by. When it gets dark in the evening, it’s nice to know that you have a little cosy ritual you can do that will make you feel better. This could literally be putting on a facemask, ordering your favourite takeout food or cooking your favourite meal, and snuggling up to watch a great movie. Or, you could go waaaay further than that and do a full pamper routine, read your favourite books, call your friends over, organise a movie night. The possibilities for your routines are endless!
Step 3: Aromatherapy.
Something I strongly believe in is aromatherapy. I just find that certain scents can completely change my mood. I’d recommend picking a scent that gives you energy or makes you feel good (citrus and bergamot are my favourites for this) and either putting them in a diffuser or buying a candle like that. Honestly it will make such a difference.
Step 4: Self Care
It’s time to start seriously implementing a daily self care routine. You need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself, physically and mentally. Make sure you include at least two self care activities or more every single day to make sure you’re probably taken care of. I know it can be tempting to forget this part and just
stay in bed all day continue working and ignore self care, but that’s not going to do you any favours in the long run.
Those are my top tips for living with seasonal affective disorder this Christmas. Remember that if you are really struggling, always always reach out for help. I really hope these tips have helped you and please let me know in the comments what you do to essentially ‘beat the winter blues’.