Love Yourself All Year Long: Surviving seasonal depression

TDB Fitness Newsletter 2/13/2022

Do you often notice mood changes during the winter months?Seasonal affective disorder, or seasonal depression, is a reality for many at this time of year. See this week’s trainer’s tips for how to take care of yourself until Spring.

Photo by Darina Belonogova from Pexels

Seasonal Affective Disorder and You

Vinnie and I have lived in Michigan our entire lives. It’s an understatement to say that winters here are bad. Temperatures dip below zero, snow can fall as late as April, and the sky remains an opaque whitish-grey for a solid 4 months. We are no stranger to seasonal affective disorder.

S.A.D., also known as seasonal depression, is a type of depression that happens during the winter. Symptoms of seasonal depression are similar to regular depression; but having one doesn’t necessarily mean you have the other. S.A.D. can happen to anyone who’s mood changes with the seasons.

As Valentine’s Day approaches I’m noticing how little I feel inclined to dress up and go out anywhere. It’s the absolute dregs of winter and seasonal depression has me blanket locked. Thus, the inspiration for this week’s newsletter. I think I could even use a little reminder about coping with seasonal affective disorder, so here we go:

  • Monitor your self talk. If you feel antisocial during the winter months, that’s OK. You don’t have to go out and socialize if it doesn’t feel right to do so. Forcing yourself to go out, or sitting there feeling guilty about canceling will make you feel worse! So consider how you talk to yourself and communicate with others surrounding social engagements for the next few months. It’s ok to be honest with your loved ones that you just don’t have the capacity to make it out. Give yourself grace!
  • Communicate and set boundaries. Your loved ones will support your need to lay low and stay inside this winter. I can almost guarantee it. However, take it from me, they may take you ghosting a little personally. Just make sure you communicate with everyone why you’re not around as much as you usually are during the winter months.
  • Assess your need for community. It is ok to stay in, however engage in deep self reflection. It can get to a point where too much staying in, too much isolation, can make seasonal depression worse. Allow yourself to reach out to your support system if this happens. It’s ok if your needs change daily, that’s kind of what it is to be human.
  • Provide space for daily joy. When I was teaching, especially, I would get stuck in a wintertime rut where I would give all my energy to my job, get home after the sun already set, and fall asleep watching TV by like 7pm. Seasonal depression made it very easy to feel like all I wanted to do was sleep. However, this left very little space in my life for joy. Even if you can’t do the things that bring you joy during the summer months, you can find joy if you give yourself the space to do so. Don’t be afraid to get silly, use your imagination, and unleash your inner child.

It’s ok to slow down a little during the winter. Overall, it’s natural to follow the seasonal cycle, and rest during the season of rest. However, there’s a point where “rest” can give way to “depression” that will only fully clear once the clouds give way to blue sky and sunshine. Coping with seasonal depression can be tough, but stay mindful and allow yourself grace. Spring will be here before we know it!

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Freebie Friday

Thank you those of you who logged in to check out our Freebie Friday video from Friday 2/11! Unfortunately we are having difficulties with our youtube account allowing us to go live so we had to cancel last minute. Sorry for the inconvenience! We’re rescheduling for Friday 2/25. We will post our LIVE workout video to our public Facebook page. Feel free to share with anyone you think would love a good workout!

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