No matter who you are, I can guarantee that you have felt some sadness in your life. It’s simply natural after all. But something like depression is beyond any normal feeling of sadness– it is a dark cloud that hangs over everything and feels as if it’s never going to clear up. 

Depression is something that is far less common than just feeling bad, but it still affects so many people in this day and age. Many factors can go into making these feelings brew in oneself, but just one of these factors is the seasons themselves.

The correlation between the seasons and depression is one that influences much more than we realize. Even as winter draws to a close, and the new year is just beginning, I feel as if these are important things that many people should know, especially while balancing college classes and work at the same time.

Winter and autumn are the coldest seasons, which should come as no surprise to anyone. This is only one of the many factors that can cause seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder. According to the National Library of Medicine, warmth is a necessity for humans, and it can cause oxytocin to be released in your body.

This is a chemical that is otherwise known as “the feel-good hormone”. It is obvious that a lack of oxytocin can bring about feelings of sadness in these freezing months. One way to combat this would be, of course, to bundle up and make sure to receive lots of hugs or physical touch.

Hot drinks and food are also a perfect aid, but make sure to consume them in moderation. Sometimes eating or drinking too much can make you feel worse off than when you started.

Another unfortunate element of this time of the year is the insufficient amount of sunlight. This also contributes to the warmth, but light is a major part of how the seasons can affect your moods. With the nights coming in closer and less time in the day to do what feels productive, you may feel compelled to simply stay cooped up in your room.

However, that is certainly not good for depression, or anything else for that matter. If you are unable to go on walks, another way to get some light would be to either keep your windows open or invest in an artificial light to mimic the sun. I have heard that they work wonders for your sluggish brain, and I will definitely have to see this for myself.

As for more general tips on how to deal with depression and anxious feelings, I certainly have plenty. For example, remembering to take any medications that you are on. This is something that slips my mind constantly, and I am constantly setting reminders for it. 

Medicine is there for a reason, and it is meant to help. Whenever you forget to take it, it can only amplify what’s wrong. Aside from that, you should also surround yourself with people who care for you.

This may seem obvious, but toxic people are no good to be around and can damage your self-esteem or feelings even more. This goes for your own brain too. It is extremely easy to think in ways that hurt yourself, but it makes recovering even harder. While it seems easier said than done, practicing positive thinking can make your mood and confidence shoot skyhigh. 

Finally, please remember to reach out if you are struggling with depression or anything in the same vein. Nobody can help you if you don’t put in the effort to help yourself first, as difficult as it can be at first. With these tips, I hope welcoming in the new year is even easier and more pleasant overall.