It goes by different names—seasonal depression, the winter blues, seasonal affective disorder (SAD)—but the root cause remains the same. The shorter days and colder temps that strike in the winter months can make some people feel lackluster, sad, and even depressed. Seasonal depression may lead you to sleep too much or even gain weight. At Krause Funeral Home, we know how cold Wisconsin winters can get here in Milwaukee County.
- Purchase a sun lamp or light box.
With the diminished sunlight that the winter months bring, it can help to expose yourself to artificial light for 20-30 minutes a day. Sun lamps are affordable and don’t take up much space. They can also help keep your circadian rhythm on track. After using a light box for some time, you may notice a lift in your mood and that you get more quality sleep at night.
- Practice hygge.
Hygge is a practice that originates in some of the coldest countries in the world—those located in the Nordic region like Norway and Denmark. This practice promotes getting outside in the elements (while wearing appropriate outerwear of course!). Staying active even in the cold can help strengthen your immunity and provide a dose of Vitamin D if it’s a sunny day. The other side of hygge is staying cozy indoors. Feel free to curl up on the sofa with a mug of hot chocolate or a piece of freshly baked bread
- Follow a consistent sleep schedule.
Getting your body on a sleeping rhythm can help aid your overall health and diminish the side effects of seasonal depression. Try setting an alarm to wake up at a certain time every morning and be sure to wind down at the same hour every evening.
- Meet up with friends and family.
It’s easy to forego social hangouts when sub-zero temperatures linger day after day. Spending time with loved ones can help improve your mental health and overall outlook on life. Even if it’s as simple as streaming the latest Netflix show at your neighbor’s house or having a friend over for dinner, try to make the effort to connect with people you love.
If your depression persists even after making lifestyle changes to address seasonal side effects, we recommend contacting a mental health professional who will be able to suggest treatment options. If your seasonal depression is in any way tied to grief over a loss, reach out to our compassionate team or consider using our grief support resources.