5 Sneaky Reasons You've Been Feeling Depressed Lately
So you've been feeling depressed lately, and you don't really know why.
You like your job, you have an awesome SO, you're getting along well with your mom for once in your life and you even like your apartment.
Still, you're experiencing a lot of the major symptoms of depression. You feel hopeless and exhausted -- why grab a drink with your best friend when you can stay in and watch the entire first season of "Master of None" for the third time? -- and your friends have started to point out how pessimistic you are.
So, what the f*ck is going on? Well, mental health isn't black and white. Here are five reasons you may be feeling so down.
You've probably heard of SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder.
SAD is known for hitting people in the winter when lack of sunlight and freezing cold weather leads to moodiness and exhaustion.
But SAD can also strike in the spring and early summer. Our bodies are just sensitive to the changing seasons.
So if your friends are talking about how happy the upcoming warm weather is making them and you just don't get it, know that SAD could be to blame.
2. Lack of sleep
Ah, sleep. If you ask me, we all need to be paying a lot more attention to how much sleep we're getting -- and I'm not the only one. Various studies show getting enough sleep is essential for creativity, memory, focus, weight control and overall happiness.
So if you're not clocking your seven to eight hours on the regular and are experiencing symptoms of depression, take a closer look at your sleep habits.
There's an incredibly strong link between sleep and mood, so if you're feeling super down and don't know why, getting in bed an hour earlier is probably a good place to start.
Sure, a glass of wine at the end of a long day can help relieve stress, and some studies show it's good for your heart.
But if you're regularly drinking an entire bottle by yourself or clocking a few too many nights out on the town, it could be making you depressed.
While alcohol can make you feel giddy initially, it is a depressant. So when you come down from your drunk high, you may experience feelings of sadness.
And in my experience, a nasty hangover doesn't do much for happiness.
4. Social media
It might feel like you're connecting with friends and family when you're scrolling through your Facebook News Feed late at night, but your social media habits could be getting you down.
While this concept needs to be studied further, there's a definite link between Facebook use and social comparison.
As researcher Mai-Ly Steers, a doctoral candidate who studied this concept, told The Atlantic,
The underlying mechanism is social comparison. That's why the more time we spend on Facebook, the more likely we are to feel depressed.
I'm the first to admit scrolling through my Instagram feed can make me feel like my life isn't interesting or cool enough. It happens.
Just remember most people are working hard to show off their best or "ideal" selves on social media.
After all, why would you Instagram a photo of your sad desk lunch or average night in with your SO?
5. Too much time by yourself
While getting a little "me" time in on the regular is important, too much of it can actually make you really sad.
In fact, studies show loneliness is more deadly than obesity.
If you have a feeling your feelings of sadness and hopelessness are rooted in spending a little too much time on your own, call a friend and make dinner plans.
Real-life social connections are important, people.
While I can provide you with reasons why you're so blue, I'm not a doctor. What I can also tell you is your mental health should absolutely be taken seriously. For more information on why you're depressed and what to do about it, consult a mental health professional.