5 Ways to Manage Your Seasonal Depression

5 Ways to Manage Your Seasonal Depression

Post Date: Jan 17, 2024
Behavioral Health

In a northern climate like the Gallatin Valley, where days are painfully short in winter, it’s common to hear terms like seasonal depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or winter blues used in casual conversation. But in a provider’s office, they might have a different meaning.

Your provider can make a diagnosis of seasonal depression through an evaluation. This might involve a psychological evaluation, a physical exam, and blood tests. Signs and symptoms of seasonal depression might include:

  • Feeling depressed

  • Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy

  • Feeling agitated or sluggish

  • Having low energy

  • Changes in sleep

  • Feelings of hopelessness

If you notice these signs in yourself or a loved one as the seasons change, it’s important to seek support. Making an appointment with your provider is a good first step if you’re unsure where to start, and you can also try a few ways of managing your seasonal depression at home. If you are in crisis, reach out to the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling 988.

Take supplemental vitamin D

It can be difficult to get enough vitamin D in places like Montana because there’s little daylight in winter, and cold temperatures mean warm layers like coats and gloves leave less of your skin exposed to the sun. Talk to your provider about whether a vitamin D supplement might help ease some of your symptoms.

Go outside all year round

Even when it’s cold out, make time to go outside. Fresh air and sun can help lift your mood. And if you incorporate some movement into your time outdoors, like walking, skiing, or stretching, it's even better. If you don’t have much time to spend outside, prioritize getting out in the first few hours after waking up. This can help your circadian rhythm, leading to better sleep at night.

Get regular exercise

Moving your body, whatever that looks like for you, is a big help in managing symptoms of depression. You might snowboard, cross-country ski, walk, play racket ball, skate, do yoga, or join an adult league sports team. But whatever you do, work some movement into your daily routine.

Make your sleep consistent

Getting enough sleep can be difficult for people with busy schedules. But for adults who don’t get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night, symptoms of seasonal depression can get much worse. Setting a consistent bedtime and wake time for yourself each day can help get you in a healthier sleep rhythm. Pay attention to changes in your sleep quality, or note if you’re sleeping much more or less than you normally do. Let your provider know if you’re struggling to get enough sleep.

Seek professional assistance

Professional treatment is important for anyone diagnosed with seasonal depression. If you’re noticing signs and symptoms of seasonal depression in yourself, make an appointment to speak with your provider or reach out to a behavioral health therapist. You don’t need to deal with seasonal depression alone. Prescription medication can also help ease symptoms and improve your life.

Making an appointment to discuss your symptoms with your provider is an important step if you’re dealing with seasonal depression. CHP clinics serve the communities of Southwest Montana, offering affordable, quality care. Reach out to a clinic in Bozeman, Belgrade, or Livingston to make an appointment and get the help you need.