Winter is here, with its damp cold and dull sunlight. Many outdoor activities are on hold, and as life moves indoors, it becomes constricting. No wonder winter is often the hardest season for those suffering with depression.
While there is no magic bullet for curing winter-related blues, there are coping strategies that may help.
Focus on Passion Projects
When the outside world is grey, and well, depressing, take the time to look inward. What are your dreams? What are passion projects have you not had time for?
Pour your energy into new pursuits, or into rekindling existing passions. Ideally, this will be something progressive – something you can see growing and improving. Maybe this passion is writing a novel, starting an online business, finishing a crocheted afghan, etc.
The point is to direct you attention away from the dreariness of winter. Focus on something that will stir your interest and bring life to your mind and senses. If you can gain a sense of accomplishment from this activity, all the better.
This time of year, it is tempting to hunker down in a dim room and binge on Netflix – alone. This feels good in the moment, but isolating long-term will only entrench depression into your life.
A defense against sinking into the pit of depression is to immerse yourself in relationships with people you love (and who love you).
Your cannot fight depression alone, especially in the darkest season of the year. Link arms – metaphorically and literally – with the people you care about. Close connections will help you to stay motivated in life, and distract you from the dark feelings depression brings.
Look for the Beauty in Winter
One winter day, when I was ruminating on my hatred for cold (it was a -10°F [-23°C] day), I dared to venture outside with my camera. I found a crystal blue sky, and some wild grass with the clearest ice draped from the seed heads. It was a simple, beautiful sight.
In winter, there are fields of sparkling snow, and ice sculptures carved by nature. Winter is more than overcast skies and cold – there is a unique beauty to it. There’s hot chocolate, and the time and opportunity to do good around the holidays, such as crocheting afghans and scarves for the needy, or volunteering one’s time.
It’s hard to see past the grey skies and the cold, but beauty is there to enliven the soul. I promise.
Winter is the most challenging time of year for many sufferers of depression. It can feel like the outside world mirrors the grey sadness inside. The key is to be proactive, and take the small steps that you can to help you feel better.