Autumn is beautiful. You can get into your car and drive down the street glancing around at how lovely the trees are, how they gleam with yellows and orange. It’s the time of year when you shimmy your way into black skinny jeans and a fall-colored oversized sweater as you listen to fall Indie music through your headphones.

This is the time when beauty is never ending you next will be filled with the holiday spirit when you step outside and catch sight of the red and green Christmas lights that are sprinkled on every inch of town, you won’t be able to drive downtown without the blinding reminder of what month it is.

Although everything is glimmering with hope and beauty, if you struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (more commonly known as SAD), as stated by Mayo Clinic, “Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons- SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer.”

When you struggle with depression year-round, you find ways to cope. You may not be happy 24/7, but you have found ways to make days okay more often than painful. When you have SAD, you have now struggle with an illness that changes how you look at life and how you make day-to-day decisions. Although these tips aren’t going to take away your SAD, they may help bring you a little joy in your time of struggles.

  •   Do not listen to Bob Dylan.
    •  This may seem like a good idea at the time, but overall it is going to bring your mood down even further; why would you do that to yourself? Times like these are when you rock out to the happiest playlist you can find and just dance with friends or no one at all. Just dance it out.
  •   Clean your room.
    • When you struggle with depression, it is easy to fall into a dark hole and you can’t seem to climb your way out; trust me you can. On days when everything is falling apart, clean your room. When your room is clean, you feel productive, everything seems more open, and you have already accomplished one big task. Now what’s stopping you from completing another one?
  • Go on a walk.
    • Go outside and breathe in the beautiful fall and winter air and just enjoy nature. It’s about to get cold again, so to do this doesn’t mean you must get ready to get cute for anything. Just roll out of bed and take a stroll. I promise you will feel better, and if not, all you did was exercise a little.
  • Bake.
    • Turn on some good tunes, preheat your oven, and bake anything and everything. Maybe even be festive with some pumpkin pies or Christmas sugar cookies. If you don’t like baking, remember that Santa will appreciate the practice when he comes to collect his cookies on Christmas Eve.
  • Think about how beautiful the world is.
    • Now that you are thinking long and hard about this, think about how the world still thought it needed you to make it complete. That’s a crazy idea. The world is a huge and beautiful place, yet someone or something still thought it was missing something until you were born; so remember you were created for a purpose!
  • Just ask someone to hold you.
    • Let a friend or a loved one express how much they love you while you drink a peppermint mocha, curled up on the couch, watching The Grinch. It is okay to take a day or two for yourself to relax and regain your thoughts.
  • CRY.
    • It is okay to be sad, and if you struggle with depression, you understand that some days nothing is wrong; you just can’t handle it and want to cry. So every once and while cry; let it all out. Once you are finished, just regain your composure and go claim the life you deserve. No one is perfect, so don’t claim yourself as being so. Perfect is a standard no one can reach. If you need to cry just cry; no one will think any less of you for letting your emotions show.
  • Buy yourself flowers.
    • Get yourself something that reminds you of how wonderful you are! You do not need anyone in your life telling you how amazing you are because that is what you should be doing for yourself. It is impossible to be lonely if you are best friends with yourself!
    • No matter what you are going through, you are not going through it alone. Get help, whether that comes from a family member, a friend, an advisor, significant other, or professional. Don’t battle this mental illness on your own if you don’t have to!

“Depression is like a bruise that never goes away. A bruise in your mind, you just got to be careful not to touch it where it hurts. It’s always there though.”  Jeffrey Eugenides

“My past has not defined me, destroyed me, deterred me, or defeated me; it has only strengthened me.”  –Steve Meraboli