Seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a real experience for a lot of people. Around 10 million Americans are affected by this phenomenon, which most typically occurs in the winter months. The symptoms are similar to those of depression; feelings of sadness, thoughts of suicide, oversleeping, a change in appetite, difficulty concentrating and avoiding certain social situations are all signs of SAD.
As the days get shorter and darker this winter, you may find yourself feeling more sleepy. And there’s science behind it; darkness stimulates the production of melatonin, and melatonin production in the body increases during this time. So, how can you stay happier this winter?
One way DREAM tries to combat this is with youth mentoring programs. We want to enact positive change in the lives of our youth to help them stay smiling all year round. We have seen our team mentoring programs help youth by giving them positive role models and resources to ensure future success.
Below are five ways we can create more happiness this winter!
Practice positive thinking
Think happy thoughts! A positive attitude can help improve your brain’s chemicals. Get rid of all negative self-talk and find ways to manage your stress. Mentoring programs for our youth also help boost their self-esteem, and when they feel good about themselves they’re much happier.
Avoid isolating yourself
The winter months, along with SAD, might make you want to stay in bed all day. Our mentoring programs also give youth reasons to get up and go to school; we remind them of the importance of education. Altruistic activities are also shown to improve happiness chemicals in our brains.
Create an easy-to-achieve goal
Setting and achieving goals contribute to our overall happiness and success. Acts as simple as cleaning your room or making a new friend are open-ended goals that will make you feel good once completed. You can also exercise more everyday or challenge yourself to get up earlier and have more daytime.
Make a happy playlist
It is proven that music can improve your mood, reduce stress and positively affect your mental health. Put together a playlist of your favorite feel-good songs and listen to it when you’re feeling down. You can also consider rotating some of your favorite songs as your wake-up alarm to help you get up each morning.
Do something good for someone else
Giving your time and energy to others is a surefire way to feel good about yourself. This holiday season especially, there are tons of local charities and organizations that are looking for help. Participate in a coat or clothing drive or help distribute meals at a food shelter. Volunteer where you can and donate what you can!
Participate in our youth mentoring programs
DREAM’s youth mentoring programs make a difference in our youths’ lives. When they’re feeling down or overwhelmed, a mentor can give them someone to talk to about it with. When they can see an older adult getting through life, it can help motivate them. Contact us today to see how you can get involved!