​Feel Seasonal Depression Creeping In? Here's How To Bounce Back And Thrive At Work
Career & Money

​Feel Seasonal Depression Creeping In? Here's How To Bounce Back And Thrive At Work

Things have been a bit on the stressful and crazy side of the world lately. Between the storms, political turmoil, economic challenges, and usual everyday life life-ing, it can be really easy to slip into seasonal depression, especially when having to thrive at work this fall. And if you've had an amazing summer---traveling, brunching, and enjoying the outdoors--- the transition into a different work routine of enduring colder temperatures and being indoors more often can be tough.

Even if fall is your least favorite time of year, this is a great opportunity to shift your perspective and think about ways you can make the last quarter of the year count. Try these tips:

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1. Continue to get outside and travel during the fall season.

Who said you need to stay indoors just because the days are shorter and the nights are colder? Throw on those thermals, light that outdoor fire pit, and gather around with friends and family regardless. If you can, make your space more accommodating to enjoy the fall weather and outdoor activities, such as adding an electric fireplace in your home for cozy vibes, setting up a tea or coffee station on your kitchen island, or adding a few ambient string lights and some fall decor to your patio space (whether small or large). Many people also play sports, walk, or jog outdoors during the fall and into the winter, which can have health benefits.

I wouldn't dare hang out anywhere outdoors when it's less than 60 degrees, but I found that when I'm fashionably prepared (i.e., wearing my favorite faux fur, puffer vest, and/or boots) and I'm in good company, I can embrace what I thought was cheesy fall-themed cocktails or the cold breeze. I'd even venture out and go for walks in the fall. It actually became enjoyable and therapeutic.

And if you love taking trips, fall (especially in October and November) is an off-peak travel season, which means prices often drop. You can find great fares for a fall trip to your favorite international destinations that often have warm weather year-round, and you can even plan shorter trips to U.S. cities where the weather is a bit warmer.

2. Focus on a specific short-term goal and write a plan to accomplish by December.

Any time you can focus on something you want to do that will advance your career (or your overall life), it can offer a sense of purpose and accomplishment to get out of the mental rut that can come with a change in seasons.

Whether it's to close a deal, save up a certain amount of your paycheck to treat yourself or re-brand what you offer via social or a new website, find a project to focus on that will enhance your professional experience or quality of life.

If you want to commit to advanced education or courses to upgrade your skills, now's the time to do that. Get locked in, mentally, to a goal that you can feel proud of accomplishing and that will distract you from the dreariness that can be the fall season. Write down goals, create a vision board, or work with a mentor who can keep you accountable and focused.

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3. Change your environment or work remote a few days per week.

If possible, get out of the office and take more breaks. Enjoy fresh air, music, or a sweet treat during these times. It sounds corny and typical, but it's worked for me. As much as we take this for granted, being indoors in a cubicle or home office while it's cloudy, rainy, or cold out can become boring and draining. Talk to your manager to see if you can work outside your office a few days a week or a month. Take baby steps and consider their deliverables and obligations when pitching for this.

And, this might sound extreme to some (so if it doesn't apply, scroll on by), but relocate if you have to. Years ago, after a season of working in New York full-time, I went to work remote in southeastern Virginia. I didn't really want to be in warm weather all year, but I couldn't stomach the extreme weather conditions of the fall and into winter any longer.

If your job isn't accommodating and you have the flexibility, look for other jobs at companies where you can shift environments when the seasons change. You don't necessarily have to say, "Hey, in the fall, I want to be out of the office and work from home," but present your case in a way that's professional, considers the impact of your working elsewhere, and offers tangible benefits like better productivity, a focus on mental wellness, or continuing your track record of success.

4.  Seek professional help via a counselor or licensed therapist and feel the feels.

I know, I know. We hear a lot about getting therapy, and sometimes it can seem like a headache within itself to actually find someone who's a good fit, is affordable, and won't waste your time. However, seasonal depression can be a seriously debilitating thing, and it's a good idea to talk to a professional to brainstorm ways to overcome or cope. It's also super-empowering to be seen and heard and not feel like you're overwhelmed with demotivation and sluggishness.

Through therapy, I learned how to spot seasonal depression at the onset when I felt demotivated or couldn't really get my creative juices flowing at work. We'd troubleshoot what I could do to pivot and how to know when to sit in the feels and go through the motions or when to do the total opposite, get out of my head, and take action for a solution. I only found healthy ways to cope through therapy because there were certain strategies my therapist knew about that I'd been unaware of.

I've never been a huge fan of fall or winter, but I've found that breathing techniques, visualization, exercise, and embracing doing new things in those seasons have truly been helpful. I've also given in to romanticizing fall by decorating my home and shopping the trends (even if it's just one very subtle touch of decor or incorporation of a fashion trend). I now enjoy all that season brings while getting my rest and unapologetically prepping for creative and mental hibernation in the winter.

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