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8 Self-Care Tips to Overcome Seasonal Depression

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Feeling down during the colder months? Don’t fret! We’ve got you covered with these 8 self-care tips that will help you beat seasonal depression.

The lack of natural sunlight during the wintertime causes some people to experience fatigue, anxiety, social withdrawal, hopelessness, stress, and a whole gamut of depression symptoms. The mood change can start as early as fall and last through the tail end of winter, equating to about eight months of winter in some regions.

A kickass self-care routine is mandatory to combat the winter blues (scientifically known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, SAD).

From cozying up with a warm cup of tea to indulging in creative activities, these friendly and casual suggestions will help you achieve a brighter state of mind. Embrace the power of self-care and say goodbye to the winter blues!

Below are 8 daily self-care tips to help beat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). 

1. Plan a Vacation with Self-Care in Mind

We can get caught up in the work grind and neglect balance. Take time off to tend to your needs. 

One trick is to plan your winter rejuvenating vacation while setting your goals at the end of the year for the following year. Sometimes, if you don’t prepare for it, you can quickly plow through the hard months, not realizing that you’ve only taken a two-day trip all year. 

Even a staycation to explore your city like a tourist is 100% helpful and works! I hear people rent hotels on the opposite end of town to reinvigorate their well-being and connect with themselves.

2. Exercise for Self-Care

I know you’ve seen this advice a million times before, but I included this because the winters are the easiest time of year to let your exercise routine plummet.

Brutal winds. Packed streets. Party invitations are at a high. Everyone is traveling to see family around the holidays. Things get a little more chaotic around this time of year, and all you want to do is ignore the world. 

When I prioritize my exercise routine, I have found that I can keep my mood more balanced. 

Even if you just cut down the number of times you exercise a week while keeping your routine consistent, you will be able to prevent yourself from crashing the hard work you’ve put in during the summer months. 

3. Track Your Moods for Mental Health Self-Care

I’m new to bullet journaling and have been making a conscious effort to track my daily habits. I’ve been able to see my progress, stability, and, most importantly, my weak points.

Many people are tracking their moods as well. Why didn’t I think of this?! Whoever thought of this is a genius. If your mood often fluctuates, tracking it is a great way to see patterns so you can better preserve your energy in the future.  

I highly recommend trying this out if you are hardwired to think with your heart. Tracking your moods can allow you to assess your mood objectively rather than emotionally. 

4. Use Light Therapy 

Disclaimer: I have yet to try light therapy, so I don’t have first-hand experience, but I included this because this seems worthwhile to try if you struggle with mood changes during the wintertime. If I had known about this when I was living in NYC, I would have tried it. Also, before starting any treatment, consult with your doctor first.

Now that we got that out of the way. Light therapy. What is it? It’s a lamp device, usually about 8 to 12 inches, made to mimic natural sunlight. Some brands have created portable travel-sized ones as well. Typically, light-therapy lamps are 10,000 lux white LED lights and UV-free. The recommendation is to keep it about 2 feet from your face and use it for durations of 20-30 minutes.

The evidence around light therapy has not been secure regarding its effectiveness in combatting depression. Some people swear by it, and some research has knocked out its validity. So, I would take it with a grain of salt, consult a doctor, and try and see for yourself. 

Also, I hear it acts as a great makeup light! Which is great. As women, we’re always searching for the perfect light to accompany our makeup routine!  

A couple of brands I’ve found to be top sellers are Circadian Optics and Verilux. According to reviews, Circadian Optics has been on Shark Tank and is doing quite well, especially the travel-friendly Lumo 2.0 model. Verilux is another budget-friendly brand. Check out the Happylight Compact model if you don’t want to break the bank.

5. Talk to a Mental Health Professional

Put this high on your list if you’ve been thinking about starting therapy. Seriously, this is the first thing I would do! 

Deciding to consult with a psychotherapist is not on everyone’s path. One might choose other healing modalities such as meditation, reiki, one-touch therapy, astrology, and so much more. With all of the different ways to heal out there, I’m not suggesting psychotherapy as the only method to find peace in a person’s life, but I have experienced tremendous growth. 

Sometimes, we need to talk to someone who prioritizes and validates our thoughts and feelings. Not everyone in our life is capable of doing this, nor do they have the skill. A well-trained therapist can help you understand your mind and bring harmony to your life. 

If money is an issue, many therapists offer a sliding scale option; they will adjust your rates according to your salary. 

6. Check Your Vitamin D Levels for Nutritional Self-Care

Disclaimer: Before taking any recommendations online, always check with your medical doctor. If you haven’t already gotten your annual checkup, schedule one. Monitoring your Vitamin D levels is usually routine.

Forty percent of Americans are low in Vitamin D because of less sunlight. The simple explanation of why our bodies need the sun: when the sun hits our skin, our bodies begin synthesizing cholesterol into Vitamin D. Less sun equals less vitamin D.

Excess sunlight is still harmful, so you don’t want to overdo it. But we rely on sunlight in healthy amounts to produce part of our Vitamin D. Low levels of Vitamin D have been linked to depression. Vitamin D plays a significant role in keeping our bones healthy and contributes to our serotonin production, a mood regulator hormone. 

I have found the perfect brand—liquid, all-natural vitamins! Aren’t you sick of taking pills? My sister gifted me Mary Ruth’s Liquid Sleep Multimineral because I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately. I enjoy the coconutty taste, and the drowsy feeling is subtle and natural. I learned Mary Ruth also carries a wide range of liquid vitamins. Their products are Organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegan. Check out Mary Ruth’s Liquid Vitamin D3 + K2 spray.

7. Hang Out With Friends and Family for Social Self-Care

If you have isolating tendencies (me!), then this one’s for you. 

Withdrawing and isolating myself are clear signs I am depressed. No woman is an island. I’m not saying that something is wrong because you’re feeling anti-social now and again. What I mean is when you don’t feel like seeing others for an extended period. Pay attention to this.

I am naturally more social and love a good party, nice dinners, and chances to connect with others. When this social feeling disappears, it’s time for me to go inward and reflect on what’s going on. 

You know yourself best. Your friends want to hear from you. Call them!

8. Track Your Sleep Patterns

I’m sure you’ve heard of “the third eye” being tossed around lately in spiritual communities. The third eye is the space in between your actual eyes, and depending on the style of meditation, sometimes people focus on the area to activate it. Scientifically, this region is your pineal gland. The pineal gland’s primary function is to produce and regulate melatonin, your sleep hormone. 

Melatonin secretion connects with the sun cycle. Usually, the sun goes down around 7 pm, signaling your body to produce melatonin, so your body knows it’s time for bed. During the winter, the sun goes down around 4 pm. 

Sleep experts say as the days get shorter, some people’s brain secretes melatonin earlier, and the brain thinks it’s time for bed. This phenomenon also causes their bodies to have higher amounts of melatonin, leading to daytime grogginess, a very similar experience to jetlag. 

So, if you feel that your hormones are unbalanced and your body feels depressed, you might want to try tracking your sleep patterns along with your moods.

Closing Thoughts on Self-Care for Seasonal Depression

A self-care routine is essential for everyday life. But if you’re feeling blue during the winter, focusing on your self-care routine is obligatory to keep your energy levels balanced. 

Remember, self-care is an active process; you must schedule and plan for it. Now that you have an arsenal of self-care tips, you can go off and get your best work done and live your best life.

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Picture of Susan Pham, mbgFNC
Hi, welcome! I'm Susan, the creator and writer of Manifestaire. My mission is to help you explore the powers of your being so you can create a magical life you love! Here, you can find articles on manifestation, spirituality, metaphysics, yoga, wellness, and so much more.
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