September has always felt like the Sunday of months. Summer has ended, and the sunburns you've worked on begin to heal and fade. The beaches are empty, and the pools are covered. Our Hot summer is over, but our seasonal depression is ramping up, baby!
Seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) - a fitting acronym, is a type of depression that occurs during specific seasons, typically in the fall and winter months. Symptoms can be debilitating, causing a decline in mood, energy levels, and overall well-being. However, there are strategies you can employ to battle seasonal depression early and minimize its impact.
Have you ever wondered about the extraordinary abilities of Punxsutawney Phil, the famous groundhog? This legendary rodent emerges from its burrow after months of DOING THE WORK necessary to show up for himself and fulfill its purpose to predict the beginning of spring accurately. Whether cloudy or sunny, Phil has to address the world and face his shadow. Imagine who you could be at the end of the SAD season if you were to do the work just like Phil.
Metaphorically speaking, of course, because you know that fool is just sleeping.
These techniques might not be as sexy as watching David Goggins videos telling you to STAY HARD and run a 24-hour marathon. (If you're experiencing staying hard for longer than 4 hours - please seek medical attention.) But they work.
First, let's recognize the symptoms of (SAD)
Identifying the signs of seasonal depression is crucial in combating its effects. These include but are not limited to…
- Feeling persistently sad or down
- Experiencing low energy levels and fatigue
- Changes in appetite, often leading to weight gain
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
- Withdrawing from social activities and feeling isolated.
Now that we recognize the symptoms, let's start working on defeating SAD by taking MAD (MASSIVE ACTION DAWG). First, we take back what has been taken from us……..the sun!
Seek Natural Light Exposure
The exposure we get from the sun increases the brain's release of serotonin, which is associated with boosting your mood and making you feel calm and focused. Maximizing exposure to natural light can have a significant impact on reducing seasonal depression. Here's what you can do….
- Get outdoors during daylight hours whenever possible. Make whatever excuse you need to soak up the daylight. You know the dog must go for a walk, and you should more than likely take the garbage out. Staying out a few moments later will only benefit you and the smell of your home.
- Open curtains and blinds to let natural light into living spaces. Not only will this allow more sun in your life, but it also brightens the home and makes it more enjoyable.
- Consider using light therapy devices that mimic sunlight. There are plenty of devices on the market now that give the same effects as natural sunlight.
-Find Amusement in casting shadows just like Phil. Shadows elongate and contort, creating comical and beautiful shapes. Challenge yourself and see what you can come up with while soaking in that sun. Tag Our Instagram @Keysparklingwater with the hashtag #Keyshadowart
Stay Active and Exercise Regularly
Physical activity is essential for fighting seasonal depression as it releases endorphins, promoting a sense of well-being
- Engage in regular exercise routines such as walking, jogging, or cycling. Making time for exercise in our already busy lives can be challenging. But consider using your lunch breaks to walk or commute to work with cycling . It's also another excuse to get more of that beautiful sun!
- Join a fitness class, gym, or martial arts to stay motivated and socially connected. Joining anything new can be very intimidating. People often worry about what others will think of them if they're out of shape or just not good at the activity they are attempting. But I promise you… NO ONE CARES! Everyone is thinking about themselves and how they come off. Plus, people want to coach and talk about themselves. This is an excellent way to start gaining knowledge and make possible friendships. There is a saying in jiu-jitsu-
"a black belt is just a white belt that never gave up."
Bonus tip: Sign up for jiu-jitsu.
- Park furthest away from your destinations and take the stairs. This will force you to get in the CDC-recommended 10,000 steps. Parking will always be a breeze if you choose the most undesirable spot. You'll also look like a complete psycho badass if you take the stairs instead of elevators and escalators.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Proper nutrition can significantly influence our mental well-being. It's easy to find comfort food when you're feeling down. But for the most part, people associate comfort food with junk food, which is a double negative when you think about it.
You want to feel good, so you reach for something that 20 minutes later will make you feel horrible. This could also make you slip into a pattern of unhealthy eating.
Take the time to take your health goals seriously and find a diet that works best for you. DIETS DO WORK…you just have to stick with it.
- Consume foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, walnuts, and flaxseeds
- Increase intake of fruits and vegetables to boost mood-enhancing nutrient levels
- Limit caffeine and alcohol intake, as they can exacerbate depressive symptoms.
- Consider intermittent fasting.
- Cook your meals.
- Plan what you're ordering before you eat out at a restaurant.
- Drink lots of water…… drink more than you already are. This might sound ridiculous, but drinking boring water isn't the only way to get more water and hydrate your body. You can enjoy the crispy bubble bite of KEY Sparkling water. You can drink a 12oz can of KEY, which has 1/10th the total amount of water you need to consume a day. You can have 1 or 10 with no guilt and only bubbly goodness. Oh yeah, and hydration, but FUN! More about KEY later on KEEP READING!
Cultivate a Supportive Social Network
You're not the only one going through (SAD). Plenty of people are going through the same things you are. You could also be helping out others with your presence. Building and maintaining solid relationships can provide invaluable support during difficult times.
- Connect with loved ones regularly, both in person and virtually.
At times, when we are in SAD mode, we don't want to see or be seen by others. But just seeing the people who are most important to us will boost dopamine and make us feel all right. If you love video games, I highly recommend playing online with friends. This way, you're doing something with your friends, accomplishing objectives, catching up with one another, and clowning on each other for how terrible we are at video games.
- Consider Professional Help
There is no shame in seeking professional help. Although intentions may be good, we all go through hard times, and venting to friends and family can have adverse effects. It's great to have an unbiased opinion from a professional whose job is to help us understand ourselves and make sense of this life.
If seasonal depression becomes overwhelming, seeking professional help is highly recommended.
- Consult with a therapist to explore treatment options. Try multiple therapists. It's common not to sync up with your first few therapists. Find one that you click with and makes you feel heard. If you can't afford in-person therapy, consider Betterhelp. BetterHelp is an app that makes treatment accessible to everyone and those on a tight budget. You will be able to pick and choose from many licensed professional therapists. The same rule applies here to finding the right therapist for you.
- Consider medications depending on individual needs. There is a stigma associated with medicine. It's to help you get over/through your depression. Consulting with a good doctor should help guide you toward the proper medication for your diagnosis.
Read A Book
Yeah, just read a book. It doesn't have to be anything in particular at the moment. Pick something that interests you and read it. You'll get better over time, even if you struggle with it initially.
The Alchemist by Paul Coelho
The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins
Unfuck Your Brain by Faith Harper
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr.Suess
My personal favorite is Jaws by Peter Benchley. This book will do its job keeping you out of the water and glad beach season is over. Plus, this book's story of persistence and triumph is as powerful as the bite from a 25 ft great white shark.
Check out thriftbooks.com for great deals on second-hand books. If you make an account, you can earn points towards free books!
Just one last bonus tip: I promise you will want to know about this ……
Skip the Soda and Alcohol & Drink KEY
Sugary sodas and alcoholic beverages have more in common than you'd think. Both are directly connected with depression and poor health. A study was conducted to the effects of soft drink consumption and on mental health.They found that those who consumed 16 ounces of soda daily were 60% more likely to have depression, stress-related problems, and even suicidal thoughts. THAT'S JUST SODA! How insane is that?
Alcohol affects the part of your brain that controls inhibition so that you may feel good and less anxious after a drink. But these effects wear off fast. The changes in your brain can lead to more negative feelings, such as anger, depression, or anxiety, regardless of your mood.
KEY Sparkling Water is the best alternative for combating old vices and routines of drinking toxic beverages like soda and alcohol. You only get two ingredients with KEY: Carbonated water and natural fruit. Bonus - there's NO ADDED SUGAR. You won't find anything in KEY linked to depression or bad health.
KEY is the tough-looking canned sparkling water for those who are willing and ready to do the work to elevate themselves and battle seasonal depression head-on.
The truth is no one is coming to save you from the depths of seasonal depression - the power to conquer it lies within yourself. You have to be the one to show up and take personal responsibility and actively engage in the necessary work to overcome depression.
Sipping KEY can serve as a daily reminder of your aspirations, instilling in you the motivation to continually strive for improvement. Each can you crush represents a small step towards personal growth and development, fostering a mindset of continuous improvement. Drinking KEY gives you the opportunity to reflect on your actions, habits, and goals. It prompts you to reevaluate your choices and make positive changes.
Make KEY your reminder that winter is coming, but so is spring and summer.
By acknowledging the symptoms and getting MAD against SAD, you can battle seasonal depression early and effectively. Remember, self-care and mental health should always be a priority, especially during challenging seasons. Embrace the strategies provided and take charge of your well-being, ensuring a brighter future amidst the darkest times.
"The night is darkest just before the dawn"- Harvey Dent AKA Two-Face