As winter wears on and the doldrums set in, many people start to feel a little down. The gray, cold sky can make anyone a bit disheartened. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD for short, is a kind of depression that is correlated to the changing of seasons only takes place during the winter months. Symptoms often include feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, mood swings, low energy, and even suicidal thoughts.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is more than just a feeling of the winter blues. The serious symptoms mean that we can’t just disregard these feelings as a typical rut. There are ways to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder, though. You don’t need to let the long, dreary winter get you down. Check out these tips to help prevent and fight Seasonal Affective Disorder.
1. Light therapy
One of the best ways to fight SAD is to trick your body into thinking that it is the summer. There are many light boxes that imitate sunshine and help your body feel better. The light from these machines are brighter than normal bulbs and they provide light on different wavelengths. It is generally recommended to sit in front of the box for about a half hour a day in the morning – it helps your body’s circadian rhythms, which switches your body from sleepiness to being awake. It may also help suppress your body’s release of melatonin, which has affect over sleep patterns and mood.
It may be tough to motivate yourself to leave the house in the dead of winter, but experts say that getting out and moving around can help combat SAD. It is better to exercise outside, but if the weather is too bad an indoor workout machine will do. This will also help fight against winter weight gain.
3. Talk to someone
If you are feeling down, it often helps to share your experiences with someone. It doesn’t have to be a professional (although that helps) – you can talk to family, friends, or even a support group to help get you through these feelings that are brought on by SAD. Keeping them all bottled up will only make things worse.
4. Consult a doctor
Your doctor has seen this before. They will be able to tell if this is Seasonal Affective Disorder or another kind of serious depression. In many cases, your doctor will be able to recommend a course of action that is right for you. If talking or light therapy does not work, your doctor may prescribe an anti-depressant. As soon as you recognize the feelings of depression, tell your doctor. It is important to get ahead of the problem before it gets too hard to handle.
Seasonal Affective Disorder can make the winter tough on anyone. But you don’t have to let it get you down anymore. The winter months can be enjoyed too, you just need to take the right steps to fight back against SAD.