The tree has been taken down, the stockings packed away with care, you even managed to remove the very last strands of angel hair tinsel from your carpet. The winter holidays fade into yesterday’s memories as you ease into a new year, when suddenly, you find yourself overcome by the winter blues. Clutching you with its cold menacing hands, dragging you into the depths of despair, an inescapable cloud of impending doom closing in on you.
Theoretically, a mere 6% of people suffer from winter depression.
If you are one of the 427.5 million (6% of the world’s current population) people on Earth that are dealing with winter depression, 6% is a significant percentage. Winter depression, to the individual, is an immense issue, an all-encompassing plague that fuels a spiral effect burying you deeper and deeper into its clutches.
If you’re reading this, chances are high that you already know this. You already know what an awful, potentially serious condition this can be. And you are probably among the vast majority of sufferers that do not seek out professional help for any number of various reasons. In fact, you are not here to read all these facts, or to listen to a description of the infliction that we muddle through each winter. What you came here for was a way out. Like any hostage, you are desperately seeking an escape plan.
I’ve got good news for you… an escape plan is exactly what I have.
First off, if you are prone to depression, it is in your best interest to recognize tell-tale signs that you are slipping into its grasp. This can vary from person to person, but are easy to spot out in yourself. Common signs are things such as not changing out of your pajamas the entire day, not wanting to leave your house, bed, couch, not socializing with those closest to you unless it’s absolutely necessary, the feeling of each day being a continuation of the one before, etcetera, etcetera. The importance of being aware of these signs is to be able to easily self-diagnose your depression and initiate your own rescue mission.
Next… you initiate the rescue mission. (Duh.)
- Force yourself outside
It is cold. It is wet. It is slushy. And you just plain don’t want to. DO IT ANYWAY! Fresh, cold air is invigorating, for starters. Aside from that, even on cloudy days, sun rays are penetrating through the overcast skies. (Research ANY sun cancer prevention guide) The sun provides Vitamin D, Vitamin D boosts your limbic system, your limbic system is the emotional center of your brain. And no, a cup of milk will not do the same thing, it is chemically broken down in your body differently.
- Wear BRIGHT colors
When you are feeling gray, you will typically dress in a manner that reflects this. It is only natural to presume that if you are dressing brightly, you will feel in a manner that reflects it. Pull some reverse psychology on your mood and find those insane orange and yellow floral outfits you hid in the back of your closet. You wouldn’t be caught dead in it? Don’t worry, you fought me on going outside anyway. Spruce up the house in your most hideous brights and you and your home will be shining in no time!
- Find the Funnies
Whether it’s America’s Funniest Home Videos, a laugh out loud movie that never gets old, or scrolling through the funniest of the funnies on YouTube, watch the stuff that will get you laughing. Laughter has many short and long term benefits including soothing tension, stimulating organs, improving your immune system, relieving pain, increasing personal satisfaction, and, of course, improving your mood.
- Join the gym, volunteer, host a game night, hang out with friends, take up a project….
There are an immense number of things you can chose, the idea is to DO something. Don’t settle for another day on the couch in your jammies. Tie up those curtains, get out that sexy outfit or comfy jeans or business suit (just get dressed already), and get moving!
Depression, typically, is a hereditary condition, normally caused by a chemical reaction inside your brain that is set off by any number of undetermined triggers. The truth is, if you suffer from depression, you have little control over when it attacks. But, you do have control over how you react to it. You DO NOT have to sit and wallow into a downward spiral. You will not want to do a thing I suggested… but if you do, if you force yourself out of your funk, before you know it the day will be so much brighter.
*Disclaimer: I am NOT a licensed psychologist, doctor, or any part of anything that closely resembles a trained professional. If you are experiencing symptoms of severe depression, have thoughts of hurting yourself or others, you need to reach out for professional help. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK). And always remember, you are not alone. After all, there ARE 427.5 million of us!