There’s a lot to love about the coming of fall, and the promise of winter. The chance to wear your favorite sweaters. The opportunity to indulge in hot beverages. The festive feel of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and beyond.
But there can also be a dark side to the changing seasons… literally. With less sunshine and natural light, combined with some of the pressures of a hectic season, fall and autumn can often lead to anxiety and depression.
The good news is that there are natural remedies to seasonal depression. One option to consider is establishing a meditation practice.
What is Seasonal Depression?
First, it may be helpful to consider what seasonal depression is and how it works.
Seasonal depression, also called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a type of clinical depression that’s related to the changing of the seasons. If you have SAD, you typically experience feelings of lethargy or melancholy at about the same time each year. Most often, the effects of SAD begin at the outset of fall and can last through winter.
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of SAD include:
- Cravings for high-carb foods
- Low energy and daytime fatigue
- Losing interest in favorite hobbies or activities
While it’s easy enough to chalk up these symptoms to the “winter blues,” SAD is actually a mental health condition that’s concerning enough to warrant medical intervention. If you experience the feelings of SAD, we recommend talking to a therapist or counselor, in addition to pursuing holistic options such as meditation.
Using Meditation to Combat Seasonal Depression
There is scientific data to support the idea that meditation can combat the effects of SAD, specifically by stimulating the release of melatonin and other sleep- and mood-regulating hormones.
There are a few meditation techniques we’d recommend as you seek relief from seasonal depression.
- Mindful breathing. Simply by practicing mindful breathing, you can take the edge off your feelings of sadness, exhaustion, or lethargy. This might mean finding a quiet place to close your eyes, slow your breathing, and simply be attentive to each breath you take. Alternatively, there are plenty of apps and guided breathing exercises on YouTube that might help you.
- Mindful movement. Another option that we recommend is practicing mindful movement. This can mean taking a yoga class, but it could just as easily mean taking a stroll through your neighborhood (assuming you can brave the chilly weather, of course). Pay attention to your speed, trying different paces throughout your walk. Simply be mindful of your steps and your breathing. Or, use your walk to practice active gratitude, trying to mentally note as many blessings as you can.
- Mindful eating. One of the hallmarks of seasonal depression is the experience of cravings for carbs and other unhealthy foods, often at the expense of real, nutritious meals. Be intentional about sitting down for three square meals a day, and take the time to really invest some attentiveness to your meals: Pause to think about flavors, textures, smells, the temperature of the food, and more.
- Mindful connection. Fall and winter usually feature a number of festive parties and family get-togethers, yet there’s also an underlying loneliness: Amidst the hustle and bustle, it may be tough to find the space for real connection. Prioritize one-on-one meetups with the people you love, even if that’s as simple as a weekly coffee date.
- Mindfulness and CBD. Finally, keep in mind that while CBD is not a cure for depression, many people who use CBD find it to have soothing and relaxing effects; and it can potentially lend focus to your meditation practices. Consider using CBD as a way to help cope with the effects of seasonal depression.
Don’t Settle for SAD
Seasonal depression affects many of us and can be tough to live with. But there are plenty of ways you can keep your SAD symptoms in check, starting with mindfulness practices.
At Asé Pure Naturals, we are big believers in natural, holistic remedies, including CBD. We invite you to explore our shop for some examples of natural, vegan, cruelty-free, US-made CBD products. Contact us directly if you have any questions about selecting the right CBD products.