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How to Prepare for Winter When You Have Depression

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a depression that occurs during late autumn or early winter. This disorder causes you to sleep longer, eat more, have less energy, and show little enthusiasm for everyday activities. According to the Weather Channel and YouGov, 29% of people in the UK have SAD which is about two million people. Here are some tips to try out to prepare for the winter and avoid being afraid whenever it comes.

Light brings people in a good mood when light sends the right signals to your brain which controls body temperature, hormones, and other factors that make us sleepy or awake. There are other ways to experience light such as with light box therapy for half an hour in the morning where you will experience 10,000 lux light. Light boxes can be a little expensive at £100 so you could get a dawn simulator which is a bedside lamp connected to an alarm clock to wake up with ease. Vitamin D supplements can help too. Spend as much time in the sunlight as possible by taking a walk for half an hour to an hour since spending time outside even in the cold can reduce SAD symptoms and reduce stress levels.

A healthy diet of certain foods can help reduce depression like fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins, and whole grains compared to eating fried foods, refined grains, added sugars, and processed foods. Keep yourself warm with hot drinks too like tea, soup, or hot cocoa and keep the house at 18 C and 21 C. If you are still terrified of the cold, go on vacation to a place where it is hot in the winter like Italy, Florida, California, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Brazil, or Costa Rica.

You can also take up a new hobby liking singing, going to the gym, knitting, or writing a journal or a blog to find a productive use of time away from being distracted by the cold. Listening to upbeat or cheery music can improve your mood as well. Volunteering at your local shelter can be another way to improve your mental health as well as do well for others. If you still need more help during the winter, contact your doctor before the season starts to help you come up with a depression management plan. Winter represents the end of the year and it should not be spent in fear.

Castle Craig is one of the most established and respected addiction rehab centers in the UK. Castle Craig provides consulting psychiatrists who diagnose associated mental illnesses like anxiety states, depression, ADD, PTSD, eating disorders, compulsive gambling, and compulsive relationships. For information, call our 24 hour free confidential phone-line: 0808 256 3732. From outside the UK please call: +44 1721 788 006 (normal charges apply).

Page last reviewed and medically fact-checked | January 29, 2020