Overall Health Share Tweet Winter is a time of year when most people feel the need to hibernate, and for a good reason. The cold weather can be depressing, especially if you are already feeling down. For many people, winter means seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is depression that happens during certain times, especially the winter months. But there are ways to fight off seasonal depression this winter, which will help your mood all year round! Here are seven ways — everything from better habits to natural supplements like CBD products — to fight off seasonal depression this winter: 1. Brighten Up Your Morning Routine Give yourself plenty of energy in the morning before stepping outside by using light therapy lamps or natural sunlight first thing when you wake up or as you get your day started. Research shows these can be effective because they affect serotonin production, which positively affects our mood. Ideally, you should try to get sunlight for 20 minutes a day, but these lights are a significant boost if you can’t manage that. As well, by taking your time in the morning, you are allowing your body to naturally wake up instead of forcing it awake with an alarm. 2. Surround Yourself with the Best Spending more time with friends and family members who make you happy is a great way to fight off seasonal depression. The colder months also bring lots of stress with them, thanks to end-of-year deadlines, the holidays, and family gatherings. Try to spend time with those who will help you relax and forget about the stresses of life by laughing together, sharing what’s going on in your lives, and just simply enjoying one another’s company. Instead of waiting for these folks to contact you, a great tip is to reach out to them yourself and make plans. Remember, it’s hard to be lonely when you’re surrounded by people who care about you! 3. Healthy Habits Get enough sleep, exercise, and eat healthily. These three habits go a long way in beating seasonal depression. Sleep profoundly affects mood, so pulling all-nighters or sleeping very little will only make things worse. If you’re having trouble getting to sleep, try adding some CBD products or melatonin to your routine. About 30 to 60 minutes before going to sleep, either take your melatonin pill or recommended dose of a CBD tincture, and you’re bound to sleep more soundly. Exercise also makes a huge difference in your mental health, as it releases hormones that affect mood and stress levels. And don’t forget about nutrition. Eating healthy is just as crucial to physical health as exercise, but did you know it’s also essential for mental health? By eating junk or processed foods to comfort your depressed self, you may be doing more harm than good. 4. Find Feel-Good Activities Engage yourself in activities that will make you feel good. But by this, we mean anything other than watching TV. It’s far too easy to fall into a winter slump and become an appendage of your couch. With so little daylight, it’s tempting to hibernate when you get home from work and watch TV until it’s time for bed. But try to do something to make yourself feel good instead. For example, read a great book, see a movie with a friend, take up an art class or start a new hobby. Suppose you manage to engage in things that interest you. In that case, it will refocus your mind and keep you from feeling unmotivated and pessimistic all the time. 5. Be Patient with Yourself Have a little patience with yourself if your mood isn’t as high as usual this winter — because you’re not alone. It can be difficult to cut yourself slack when things are gloomy and stressful. Instead, try to be gentle and kind with yourself during this time. Remember that even if you don’t feel like it, those who care about you are still there for you and will support you through this tough time of year. Combat negative self-talk by simply telling yourself, “I’m not going to say this to myself today.” After all, if you wouldn’t say it to someone you love and care for, why are you saying it to yourself? 6. Laugh a Little Watch funny films, TV shows, or videos online. They won’t just cheer you up for the time being but will boost your mood all year round. If you absolutely can’t find anything else to do that’s not focused on the TV or your computer, at least do yourself the favor of watching a funny film or TV show to lift your mood. Doing so will affect brain chemistry by releasing dopamine and serotonin. These hormones have been shown to aid in depression prevention. And if you don’t have time for an entire film, catching giggle-worth clips and reels online is a worthy substitute. So, go ahead, watch that YouTube clip of a cat skydiving. Just be sure to share it with your friends so you can laugh together! 7. Relax into Selfcare Relax with “me” time by reading a book or taking long baths. Nothing says “self-care” like reading a book while sipping tea in the tub. It’s like giving yourself an early Christmas present. Others may argue that watching TV or playing video games is also “me” time, but remember, you need to rest your brain. The point of doing something relaxing and doing it by yourself is so you can unwind. At the same time, you enjoy it, not being distracted by anything else. So make this winter the time you take back your evenings and give yourself some much-needed “me” time. You’re Not Alone When it comes to beating seasonal depression this winter, the most important thing is to remember that you’re not alone. So many people struggle with this condition, and they’ve proven it doesn’t have to control your life. So, make sure you take steps to fight back and enjoy the holidays. Of course, if you get to the point where you feel like you’re struggling too much, help is available. Reach out to qualified mental health professionals or the Samaritans by calling their hotline at 1-877-870-HOPE (4673) or visiting their website for a live chat. All calls and chats are free, secure, and confidential.