3 Ways to Cope with Seasonal Depression
Many people enjoy the holidays.
But at the same time, many others do not.
The same season that brings joy, gifts, and fun times for some is the same that brings painful memories, loneliness, and emptiness for others.
Is it possible that you find yourself relating more with those who struggle through the holidays that with those who enjoy them?
If so, you’re not alone.
The key is to learn how to cope with seasonal depression and to rise as high above it as possible.
The good news is that there are 3 ways to do exactly that.
Keep Doing What You’ve Always Done
Just because the season has changed doesn’t mean you have to as well. The key is to keep doing in the valley what you planned while on the mountain.
Take, for example, the man in the Bible known as Daniel.
He prayed three times a day, always.
Then, the king issued a decree stating that anyone who prayed to any god other than the king would be thrown into a den full of hungry lions.
But watch what Daniel does.
But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God. – Daniel 6:10 (NLT)
Notice that things changed for Daniel, but they did not change him. He did in the valley “just as he had always done” on the mountain.
The key is to maintain your routine.
If you exercise all year, keep exercising during the holidays. If you relax with a cup of coffee every morning while reading a good book, keep doing the same.
What happens is that the season changes and how habits change with it. Unfortunately, many of these habits keep depression at bay throughout the year.
So to keep it away during the holidays, make sure to keep doing the things you love.
Sometimes, especially during the holidays, we can sit back and wait for someone to help cheer us up.
We wait the phone call that never rings. Open our messenger looking for the message that never arrives. And scroll for the post with a tag to our page that we never find.
And this hopeless waiting results in even more depression.
The key is to do for ourselves what we hope someone else would do for us.
Consider David in the Bible as an example.
And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. -1 Samuel 30:6
In this situation, David was fighting a war with his army. The enemy had raided the army’s hometown and took their wives and children captive. The army was angry with David over the situation and wanted to stone him to death.
And David, with his life on the line, being overwhelmed and distressed “encouraged himself.”
There are some things we have to walk through alone in life. That may not be popular, but it is no less true.
It may be time for you to encourage yourself during this season.
Perhaps no one is there to do it for you. And no one is going to show up. If that’s the case, it doesn’t mean you have no hope.
You can take control of your own feelings and decide for yourself how you are going to live this day.
I encourage you to encourage yourself.
Start Something New
This is actually a trick, but it always works.
The secret here is to start something. It doesn’t matter whether you continue it or not.
Whether you master this skill or hobby is irrelevant. The key is to start.
Pick something fun. Perhaps something you’ve always wanted to do. Learn a new game, play a musical instrument, get a guinea pig, do Kung Fu, dance Salsa. Whatever. It doesn’t matter what it is.
Now start doing it at the height of your seasonal depression. Do it when you feel the worst you’ve ever felt.
What you are doing is tricking yourself into getting excited. It is always fun to start something new. And starting something you’ve always wanted to do has the added benefit of making you feel accomplished.
If you want to continue your new hobby after the season passes, go for it. If not, it doesn’t matter. Put it aside and resume with life. The key is not to actually learn it but to start learning it during the holidays since doing so will release the endorphins associated with fun new activities.
Overall, the best formula is to put all 3 of these tips into practice at the same time. While continuing your normal routine, begin encouraging yourself in spite of the circumstances, and start doing something new.
The combined effect of these 3 tips working together is an excellent approach to dealing with seasonal depression and overcoming it with victory.