Seasonal depression is a mental condition that affects individuals when the weather changes. It is most commonly associated with the winter months, and though anyone can experience seasonal depression all year long, it is rare to develop in summer and springtime.
If you’ve never experienced seasonal depression, or aren’t entirely sure what it is, you might find yourself at a bit of a loss with a loved one who’s suddenly become withdrawn and irritable.
The good news is, there are plenty of things to help with seasonal depression and plenty of ways you can help your loved one relieve their symptoms and return to themselves.
Today, we’re going to take a closer look at how to help someone struggling with seasonal depression, as well as identify five of the most effective seasonal depression remedies.
How to help someone with seasonal depression
One of the most important things to remember when it comes to helping someone you love to ease their seasonal depression is that you cannot actually fix them. You cannot cure them. Love alone is not a remedy, and you are not qualified to act as a therapist or mental health specialist.
Assuming a role you are unequipped to perform in, especially in realms as fragile as mental health, usually does more harm than good, and is best to be avoided.
There are, however, certain ways you can support your loved one during this time that don’t require you to be in an unhealthy dynamic, cross any boundaries or drain your energy.
Here are five of the best ways you can help your loved one relieve their seasonal depression.
1. Practice patience and compassion
It can be easy to get frustrated with and snap at a partner who’s suddenly descended into the winter blues “for no reason” and caused an imbalance in the home — but it’s not their fault. Among all of the ways you can help your loved one during this time, practicing patience and compassion, especially when it’s hardest, is one of the most powerful things you can do.
2. Invite them to spend time outside with you
One of the biggest reasons seasonal depression is most common during the winter months is due to the lack of sunlight (or lack of time spent outdoors) and therefore a lack of Vitamin D, which is largely responsible for our production of “happy hormones.”
One of the simplest and most powerful ways you can help your loved one relieve their seasonal depression symptoms is by encouraging them to spend more time outside. If they’re reluctant to take up this practice, offer to join in on it with them; you can go on long walks outside, take small hikes, or spend time in state parks or by the ocean.
3. Help them refresh their living space
Some people may or may not be interested in receiving help in such an intimate area of their lives, in which case, respect their boundaries and don’t push. Some people, however, welcome assistance when it comes to cleaning, rearranging and decorating their homes. “Stale energy” in a living environment can be a large contributor to seasonal depression, especially when the majority of your time is spent absorbing it.
A few fun ways to refresh and revive a room or home altogether are to perform a deep clean, assess possessions and donate things that aren’t used, make or buy a few new decorations, or cook a favored meal or dessert.
4. Suggest aromatherapy and light therapy
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils for therapeutic purposes through a diffusion process that evaporates the oil-infused vapor into the air. Studies from the National Library of Medicine show that the use of aromatherapy can help to ease symptoms of depression and other psychological issues like anxiety and sleep disorders.
Light therapy is the use of sunshine-mimicking light (typically through a “lightbox” simulator that anyone can buy online) to help reset and rebalance an individual’s circadian rhythm. This is one of the most common and effective treatment options for seasonal depression, and one you can practice at home.
5. Encourage them to seek help
Seasonal depression is not a “milder” form of depression (as it is commonly assumed to be), it’s simply a specific category of depression. As a form of depression, it has the potential to develop into a harmful or even crippling mental illness when left unaddressed and untreated.
If you believe your loved one is struggling with seasonal depression, encourage them to speak with a recovery specialist today.
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The primary goal of High Focus Centers is to help you live your healthiest, happiest, most fulfilling and most successful life. We accomplish this by providing you with high-quality mental health and substance abuse treatment programs.
We don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach, which is why each of our programs is designed to fully adapt to and meet each of your unique medical and personal needs. Our compassionate staff is comprised of experienced nurses, doctors, clinicians and counselors, all of who are dedicated to serving you with the utmost respect, kindness and support.
To speak with one of our intake specialists and learn more about how we can help you and your loved one start on the road to recovery, call us today.