Depression and handling Winter

I’ve been depressed long enough to know that during the Winter months I am at my absolute worst (I live in New England). Aside from the dark and the cold, people, including myself withdraw.

I’ve been feeling worthless and low lately. I hope things will improve for me by April or May when the season changes. In the meantime I have some itty bitty things in mind to help me over this hump and would like to know yours too.

As to mine: some are just ideas but all are do-able if I could just get my depressed self motivated.

  1. Walk outside for a minimum of 30 minutes at least 4 days a week.
  2. Keep my body and house clean - like I could be ready for at company anytime.
  3. Alter diet to treat possible IBS
  4. Make an effort to socialize more
  5. Try Yoga starting with one easy posture a day
  6. Keep up with bills, disability communications, mail in general
  7. Use my light box (have slacked off)

Do any of you really suffer over the Winter months? I’m depressed all year around but Winter is the worst for me. What do you think of my strategies and do you have others?

How do you deal?

I think those are all excellent strategies! I take vitamin D all year round and recently added Relora which seems to help me rise above things and not get bent out of shape.

OP here,
I should have mentioned I’m taking vitamin B, D and Fish Oil as well as my other meds.

I’m new to the north and this winter is kicking my butt. I try to get outside every day, eat healthy, take vitamin D, I got one of those natural light bulbs. All of those things help some, I agree keeping body and home clean are very important. I also found it helpful to develop some indoor hobbies so that I have something to do on gloomy days other than just netflix. I’ll be checking back here for more tips.

Your list is a good one, but it strikes me as being kind of overwhelming, to do all of those things. Of all the things on your list, I’d say getting outside every day is the most important one. In my opinion, being outside, feeling the wind, seeing the sun, breathing fresh air all makes you feel better than hibernating inside all winter long.

And I don’t want to hear, “It’s too cold to go outside and go for a walk” - I walk all winter long, and I live in Western Canada. :smiley:

I agree Cat Whisperer - I think it’s more realistic (and obtainable) to accomplish 2-4 things on any given day, work up from there until I’m doing all.
One thing I forgot to mention - I tend to read books to the extreme - it serves two purposes; 1) Reading is good for you, so I can pat myself on the back that I’m reading instead of watching daytime tv 2) Reading takes me outside myself, I enjoy myself more than I do real life (not sure that’s a good thing) but it makes me put off other stuff I should do.

Still, as vices go, reading is pretty benign.

Reading is good; when you’re feeling down, have you tried reading humourous books? They’ll also help to lift your mood - laughter really is good for you.

The obvious solution is to move to a geographic area without bad winters. Some people here might even recommend California. Or you could become a snowbird and just move in the winter.

Our Arizona winter has so far been characterized by 70-degree, clear days. Of course, three months from now we get our regularly scheduled six months of hell, which I intend to escape. Look at it this way: in most parts of the country, the weather sucks at least some of the time. Now is your sucky period. Next summer will be ours. Your payback will be a glorious spring, summer, and fall. So what if they only last about three weeks each :slight_smile:

This winter I’ve been getting up before sunup, and I sit with a 4-tube fluorescent fixture with bulbs that duplicate sunlight for half an hour, while I read the newspaper online. Often, I repeat it after sundown.

+1. Not just for books, but any kind of comedy (that suits you) works well for me.

Self-improvement efforts do help. This year I’ve gone Paleo and joined a gym. In previous years I would buy a one-month pass to a tanning salon. I don’t know if that produces enough vitamin D to alter one’s mood, but it was fun and cheered me up. January is also a great month to do the 30 Day Shred.

Keeping yourself and home is a really good idea but to push it up a notch turn on some tunes and dance and sing while you’re doing it.

I find that it’s hard to be bummed while shaking my booty.

(Getting off my depressed ass to clean is another story…)

About that light box thing, I know it’s had to get to, and stick with, here’s something I have found very effective, at the hardware store you can buy a UV bulb that will screw into any regular receptical, shaped like a regular incandescent bulb, cost about $5. They aren’t strong enough to grow crops, but they will help you and your house plants through the gloomy winter months.

Buy two or three and put them into the lights you always have on, living room, computer desk, kitchen, whatever. Now, you’ll be getting a little sunshine without having to change anything you’re already doing.

It’s so easy. And it works.

My suggestion would be that if doing something like 30 mins of walking seems too overwhelming, just break it down and tell yourself you’ll just get out for 5 or 10 minutes. The hardest part is often just getting started, and doing something (even if it’s a very small thing) is better than nothing, so don’t give up because you don’t feel up to doing something big.

That’s good, too - sometimes my walk is “just around the block.” Then once I get out there, it turns into a real walk. Or it’s just around the block, which is still better than sitting on the couch. :slight_smile:

I agree with everything on your list. I am not the cleanest person in the world, by any means, but lately I have been keeping my apartment cleaner, and that helps. In addition, I have a “rule” that I cannot leave my apartment until I make my bed. I never used to make my bed, and I find that getting in a bed that is made in the evening is very comforting. In addition, perhaps you could plan a trip or a week-end trip to FL or one of the warmer states, or even staying in a local hotel for a night can do wonders. Also, eating well can help, (avoiding sugar, etc.).

On sunny days at work, I eat my lunch in my car. It’s usually warm even if it’s cold outside, because of the greenhouse effect. 40 minutes of the sun beating on my face makes me feel better, even if I don’t actually get the vitamin D (I assume I don’t because my windows stay closed).

I’m going through a rough patch and I think your list is great. I’m used to being outdoors a lot (with my horse, who recently crossed the bridge which is the main reason for my rough patch). Now I don’t have a reason to go outside, and the weather isn’t helping (19 days of below zero, 5 feet of snow). Today I’m going to mall walk (oh, I also have an air cast on my foot) then go to yoga.