If you recognized yourself in my story about winter blues, seasonal affective disorder, and postpartum depression, then my goal is to be able to offer you some hope with these tips.
9 Things That Can Help You Fight Seasonal Depression in Winter
1. If you do see sunlight, try to get outside, even if for only a few moments. We do know that vitamin D and sunlight can lift the winter blues and so if you see it, I encourage you to pocket some of it if you can. Or, if it is too cold to be outside, stand or sit by a window and soak up whatever rays are available to you.
2. Consider a way to get movement and exercise while at home. Yoga or exercise DVDs can be a great way to bring your movement home to you. Or dance! A mom who I have been seeing in my office uses the long winter months to turn up the music that she loves and boogie with her baby. If they are little enough they might just love the movement, too. And watching you may just be the entertainment that your little one needs! Plus exercise can help with your postpartum depression, too.
3. Make sure that you are taking a high potency multi-vitamin and Omega 3 supplement. If fresh fruits and vegetables are at a minimum, do what you can to replenish this necessary brain food.
4. Replace cold water with warm water with lemon and honey or tea. While excess fruit juices or other sweetened beverages are not ideal, spicing up your water so that you can get enough is certainly encouraged. Your brain and body need enough hydration to function efficiently.
5. Reach out as much as you can for support and company. Can you enlist the help of friends for meal deliveries or help with your baby? If it feels too hard to get out, consider asking your community to come to you. You are not alone and you certainly don’t need to be. If asking for this help yourself feels too difficult, is there someone who can ask for you?
6. For more moderate to severe symptoms, reaching out for the support of a trained psychotherapist can be imperative. For support near to you, check out our list of treatment programs and specialists and support groups.
7. For many women who struggle with seasonal affective disorder, medication support can be a valuable part of treatment. If you have questions or concerns about this, I encourage you to speak with your therapist or care provider.
8. Bright light therapy has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression in some women. For women who suffer from both postpartum depression and seasonal affective disorder, this may be a helpful addition to treatment.
9. Finally, be kind to yourself and notice if you are beating yourself up for feeling down. You are not alone and there are many, many others out there who feel similar to the way that you do, whether they have seasonal affective disorder, postpartum depression, or both. I promise.
— Kate Kripke