As seasons shift from fall to winter, there can also be a lot of climate changes and physical changes to your environment that are often hard to deal with for many. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a mental health disorder that is triggered by less light during the fall and winter months and the change in seasons. Symptoms of SAD can range from mild to severe. For a lot of people, SAD, makes it difficult to concentrate, causes a mild depression and even saps energy. It is always a good idea to see a health professional to both diagnose and ensure that there is nothing else wrong.
My Mom struggled with SAD in the winter months especially. Her doctor diagnosed it and suggested she purchase a light therapy lamp. This made a huge difference for my Mom. She took her light with her to the retirement home where she lived the last two years of her life. She did best with Seasonal Affective Disorder when she was remembering to turn the light on every day for five minutes in the morning. SAD can be tackled with phototherapy (light therapy), psychotherapy and sometimes drugs.
There are a few simple things that can help you cope with SAD.
These 5 ideas can help you cope with SAD symptoms, all of which are easy enough to incorporate into your already hectic schedule.
1. Move Your Workout Outdoors
Sunlight and fresh air are the best remedy for SAD symptoms, but its a lot harder to get outdoors when the weather is cold and the days are short. Instead of trying to change your entire workout schedule, move one workout outdoors a week, even if it means trying something new. Workouts don’t have to be routine, but can be fun. Strap on a pair of snowshoes, try cross country skiing or try a winter jog.
2. Add Vitamin D3
The lack of sunlight leads to most of the side effects that are associated with SAD, and that also accounts for the reduction of Vitamin D3. Boosting this vitamin intake in other ways is a great way to make up for the loss, and you can do so with a supplement that you purchase over the counter. Supplement your meals with orange juice, egg yolks, liver and fatty fish, which all contains huge doses of D3 that are easy for the body to absorb.
3. Natural and Artificial Sunlight Fixes
When you work long hours it’s hard to get in the needed amount of sunlight, because the sun is still not up and goes down before you leave the office. Try to get outdoors for even 15 extra minutes a day, or near windows, where you can see and bask in the sunlight. If you are stuck indoors and unable to do either of those, invest in artificial sunlight lamps that will help to perk up your body. Even though artificial sunlight lamps do not provide your body with the additional Vitamin D3 they need, they definitely work as mood boosters.
4. Increase Social Activity
With the colder months our time is more likely to be spent indoors, which means we are also less likely to socialize at the same rate that we did during the summer months. Make a point of adding at least one additional social activity to your calendar each week, something that is meant for pure fun with friends to keep your mood elevated. Something as simple as joking and laughing with friends can really contribute to your overall health.
5. Change Your Bathing Habits
One of the hardest things to do when you are dealing with SAD is to get up and moving in the mornings, fighting the urge to remain curled up in bed and in the house for the day. Change your bathing routine, switching to morning showers, adding a short cold rinse at the end and swapping out your normal products for those with citrus or mint scents to quickly perk you up and get you going.
Like most mental health illnesses or disorders, Seasonal Affective Disorder responds to some simple things and is easier to combat when you are feeling less run down. So be sure to get enough sleep, eat healthy and remember exercise in the winter months and SAD will be easier to manage. This post contains affiliate links.