Is Everyone Around You Feeling Happy and You’re Not?
At this point, most people have heard of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a depression brought on by changes in seasons. Most of the time, SAD starts in the fall and goes through the winter, making you feel moody and low on energy. And it’s around this time of year, when the temperatures are on their way up and the sun is out, that people who have SAD tend to start feeling better and more upbeat. So what happens if you aren’t? That’s a sign that what you’re experiencing isn’t seasonal affective disorder after all. It’s depression.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 19 million Americans may suffer from depression, which is when severe feelings of sadness, hopelessness or dejection last for more than two weeks and affect your ability to function at work, at home or in relationships. Distinguishing between a rough spell and depression isn’t always easy, but there are signs that you’re dealing with the latter. These can be obvious, like not having any interest in activities you used to love, and not-so-obvious, like headaches and back pain. If you think you might have severe depression, reach out to a mental health expert for help coming up with a treatment plan that’s right for you. If you have a more mild depression that just didn’t go away with the warmer weather, there are some natural ways you can start to feel better:
- Set daily goals. Don’t let yourself feel like you can’t accomplish anything. Set goals and start small, so you can see that you actually get a lot done.
- Exercise more regularly. You don’t need to push it, but even walking a few times a week can help boost those endorphins that make you feel happier overall.
- Watch what you eat. There’s no magic diet to fix depression, but there are certain nutrients that help boost feel-good chemicals in your body.
- Get a solid night of sleep. Even though it’s hard to get good sleep when you’re suffering from depression, not sleeping enough can make things worse.
For help identifying depression in others and helping friends and family members get through it, check out these blogs:
- Depression and Teens: Your Child May be More Than Just ‘Moody’
- Living With Someone Who Lives With Depression
- Postpartum Depression: It’s Not Just for Women
Photo credit: Michael Dorokhov