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10 ways to overcome seasonal depression

It’s that time of year again.. The days get shorter, colder and sadder. Summer has left us and the ‘back to school/work’ excitement has evaporated into ‘Do I really need to get out of bed today?’ If you can relate, you may just be experiencing a dose of season depression aka SAD seasonal affective disorder.

Unlike a cold or the flu, it’s not spoken about much and tea and honey can’t fix it, so we’ve come up with 10 ways to keep your spirits up this autumn/winter. 

  1.  Exercise – Yes, it sounds cliche but even a daily 10 minute jog can lift your mood. Exercising releases endorphins which activate the ‘happy’ part of your brain and keep you motivated for the day ahead.
  2. Embrace autumn – yes its grey in the UK but its also beautiful. Autumn means, leafy walks in the park, snuggles with hot chocolate and prepping for the festive season of course!
  3. Don’t be a zombie – Break your routine – It’s super easy for us to wake up go to work, come home and sleep and repeat day after day. Try to do something different everyday – a new hobbie, a catch up with friends, a new sport?
  4. Meditate – Meditation is very underrated and helps us deal with depression and anxiety as well as lift our moods and relax us.
  5. Read – Nothing beats indulging in a good book, ideally one that inspires you to become a better version of yourself or motivates you to keep going – Fiction is also a great way to escape the winter blues into a different realm.
  6. Eat healthy – Writing this while thinking of pizza, wine and cakes seems a tad hypocritical.. but we find that the healthier we eat the happier we feel. Junk food as tasty as it is, can make you feel like crap and in turn affect your mood
  7. Catch up – Been delaying meeting up with friends? Too busy with work/school? Catching up with your friends can have a great impact on your mood whether its for coffee or dinner a well over due catch up is always a must
  8. Avoid the depressants – Heading to the pub/bar is always a good idea – until you’re hangover the next day feeling like absolute shite and the rain on your window only makes it worse – alcohol is a depressant and if you’re already feeling blue, chances are it will leave you feeling worse
  9. Set yourself a challenge – Remember those new year resolutions you started back in January? Challenge yourself to achieve something before the end of the year – You’ll not only have a goal to fixate your mind on but have the adrenaline to reach it in just over seven weeks! 
  10. Listen to a positive podcast – You’ll be surprised just how much these can effect you and lift your mood

What is causing your SAD? Other than the lack of sunshine and cold weather? The main theory is that a lack of sunlight might stop a part of the brain called the hypothalamus working properly, which may affect the:

  • production of melatonin – melatonin is a hormone that makes you feel sleepy; in people with SAD, the body may produce it in higher than normal levels
  • production of serotonin – serotonin is a hormone that affects your mood, appetite and sleep; a lack of sunlight may lead to lower serotonin levels, which is linked to feelings of depression
  • body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm) – your body uses sunlight to time various important functions, such as when you wake up, so lower light levels during the winter may disrupt your body clock and lead to symptoms of SAD

If you’re symptoms are affecting your every day activities its important to discuss with your GP and work out ways that are suited for you.

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