A Relationship Counselor Explains How to Help Your Partner with Seasonal Depression

January 25, 2017 by

We’re in the full swing of winter: the days are short, our heating bills are high, and we’re spending even more time indoors avoiding the cold.

For many, winter brings with it not only cold and snow, but also a gloomy atmosphere. This atmosphere can have a big effect on our everyday life and mood. So it makes sense that many people feel more downtrodden than normal during the winter months.

Some people, though, feel downright depressed this time of year. Health professionals have given this winter gloominess a name: seasonal affective disorder (SAD). You can talk to a counselor about this now by getting in contact with our office.

Defining SAD

SAD is a form of depression that is only present with the change of the seasons, most commonly fall to winter. Around 4-6% Americans suffer from SAD proper, and up to 20% of Americans experience a mild form of the condition.

Does this sound like your partner? It can be awkward or alarming to watch them experience symptoms of depression, especially if they only come around during the winter months. You may not know how to support them, or whether you should even try.

If your partner is suffering from SAD, or is just experiencing prolonged symptoms of depression, there are ways to help and support them while also keeping your mental health in check. Try these suggestions this season to get through the cold months of winter:

Don’t Take Anything PersonallyPeople who are experiencing depression or changes in mental health may be confused as to why they are feeling so fatigued or depressed and lash out at others. While this does not make their partners, friends, or family members feel good, it is important to understand that this is a common coping method for people with disorders like anxiety and depression.

If you are noticing changes in your partner’s mood, do not take their actions or words personally. Letting them affect you will only create a downward spiral of tension and frustration during this season.

Pick Up Some Healthy Habits (But Lead By Example)There are many things you can do to combat depression: go for a run, meditate, use aromatherapy, and so on. But giving you a list of suggestions to give to your partner won’t do too much good – you can’t just ship someone off to a class or an herb store to “fix” seasonal depression.

Instead, lead by example. Pick up some healthy habits in the winter and encourage your partner to join you. They are more likely to accompany you to a class or workout than go on their own. Plus, the two of you will get to enjoy a boost in energy together.

Encourage Your Partner to See a DoctorEven if your partner does not experience these symptoms throughout the rest of the year, they may benefit from seeing a licensed professional. Doctors may be able to prescribe antidepressants or offer suggestions that will help them throughout the winter months.

Seasonal affective disorder is known throughout the medical community. They will understand if your partner’s mood is only affected in the winter.

Want to learn how to encourage and support your partner through all of their struggles, every day of the year? Contact a Bend relationship counselor.