Self-Care Tip: Brightening Up the Darkest Time of Year


Here we are, in the darkest time of year--both literally because of the shorter days and metaphorically as the pandemic worsens. Many of us spend most of our days inside. If we leave the house, the sky is dark when we go to work and dark (or close to it) when we head home. It all builds to the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice, on December 21. Until then, the days will keep getting shorter. Even after the winter solstice, it’ll be a while for the days to be lighter longer.

It can be hard to get through this time of year during a normal year, and this is not a normal year. This makes us more susceptible to experiencing signs of seasonal depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). During a year when we are all more vulnerable to anxiety and depression due to the ongoing stresses of a pandemic, it’s more important than ever to be alert to signs of SAD or depression.

So how can you combat SAD or seasonal depression? There are lots of resources available, but easy ones include:

  • Spending time outside, especially when its sunny. Try a daily noon walk.

  • Exercise and eat well. Emphasize fruits and vegetables.

  • Sleep regular hours. Try not to alter your sleeping times.

  • Consider light therapy.

  • Look to the future: vaccines are starting very soon! There is hope and light on the horizon!