By Linda Diaz

Feeling down lately? Are you noticing that you have less energy than usual or are slowly withdrawing from normal activities with family or friends? It’s not just you! Many studies show that during the winter months, the lack of sunlight, the dark clouds and drop in temperatures can kick off the “winter blues,” known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or seasonal depression. This is not just an issue for adults; many children and adolescents also suffer from it. Some of the symptoms to look for are dropping grades, low self-esteem, the appearance of being selfish or wanting to be alone. If this continues for more than two weeks, it should be a concern.

Below are tips that can help you, a friend or loved one through the winter blues:

  • Try to get as much sunshine as possible, studies suggest that natural vitamin D from the sun helps treat the blues.
  • Get some exercise. If you enjoy the outdoors and the cold weather, try to get out and get some fresh air – maybe try some snowboarding, sledding or skiing.
  • If you are not a fan of the cold weather, try some indoor activities such as family/friend games or movie nights.
  • Studies have also shown that eating healthy or having more fruits and veggies can help.
  • Listen to cheerful music. Pull out your playlist with the most fun and upbeat tunes to get you dancing.
  • Helping others can also be rewarding. If you like to volunteer, go to your favorite organization to help out.
  • You might find it uplifting to de-clutter. Try cleaning out your closet, room or car – it’ll help keep your mind busy.
  • Stay social and engage with friends. If you feel that you are not being kind to them because you’re feeling down, try starting an encouraging conversation that might help to lift you both.
  • Be kind to yourself. Depression will often make you feel as if you are a burden to others and that is NOT true.

You are not alone with these feelings and with some understanding of what you are going through, you will start feeling better and get back to enjoying the things that make you happy.

When depression becomes too much to handle by yourself, confidential and judgement-free help is available from the Crisis Text Line, no matter where you live! Together we can create a better tomorrow, because you matter!

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