Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is one type of depression related to the change in season. The reduced level of sunlight at the beginning of Fall may cause winter-onset SAD. This decrease in sunlight may disrupt your body’s internal clock and lead to feelings of depression.
You may also experience low energy, sleeping problems, feeling hopeless and changes in weight. Traditional treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder includes medications, light therapy, and psychotherapy. You can combat SAD symptoms without traditional treatments. If you think you may have the winter blues or you know you have the condition, try these four tips to combat your symptoms:
Take in the Sun Rays
Spend as much time as you can in the sun. Sit by a window or go for a walk when the sun is rising or is the brightest. Natural sunlight improves your mood and helps you develop a more positive outlook about getting past the winter months.
Exercise to Reduce Depressions Symptoms
Try to exercise at least 30 minutes three to five days per week. Exercise is another great way to improve your mood because it relieves stress. During the winter months, you probably might be under a lot more stress than during other seasons. Physical activity helps your body produce endorphins. It also increases the amount of oxygen to your brain. Endorphins and increased oxygen to your brain are two important elements in stabilizing your mood. Exercising keeps SAD symptoms at bay for the entire day.
Resist the Urge to Go Into Hibernation and Socialize
One symptom of Seasonal Affective Disorder is isolation. If you’re anything like me, you don’t enjoy the cold weather and prefer to stay inside your home, away from the cold. Or you may just want to be alone during the colder months. However, to combat SAD, you have to do the exact opposite. Socialize. Connect with other people. Create a social circle you can spend with during the winter months. You may also want to start a hobby to meet and be around more people. Socializing gives you the motivation to get going and leave the sadness alone. You have more things to think about and do during the cold months.
(Try to) Eat Healthier during the Cold Months
During the winter months, it is easy to grab junk food because it is so cold. Also, with fall and winter being a busy time for holidays and holiday parties, it’s very easy to indulge. You may crave heavier, more indulgent foods that can pack on the pounds. Eating an unhealthy diet can make SAD symptoms worse. Instead, eat lean meats, vegetables, and fruits during the winter months. This helps you avoid gaining weight during the cold months. Some foods you should add to your diet include certain fatty fish like tuna or salmon. Carbo-loaded snacks are good too. They increase your serotonin. Dark chocolate is another great item to add to your diet because it produces phenylalanine. Phenylalanine increases your dopamine and helps with depression symptoms.
Seasonal Affective Disorder can happen to anyone and for any reason. The key is to overcome it. You have the right to be happy during the winter months. By doing simple things, you can stop symptoms associated with SAD. Whether you exercise, eat healthier or socialize, the cold winter months will be gone before you know it.