Tips To Help You Cope With Seasonal Affective Disorder
How to Deal with Seasonal Depression
The cold weather has arrived in many parts of the country and we’ve just turned the clocks back in many areas as well. That means there’s about to be a lot less daylight in our lives. For a lot of people, this time of year can lead to feelings of sadness and depression.
While some people will go through what is commonly known as the “winter blues”, others will have a more intense reaction known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. This is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in the brain chemical that affects mood (serotonin) and disrupt your body’s internal clock, leading to feelings of depression.
While you can’t create more sun, there are things you can do to help you cope with seasonal affective disorder. Here are a few tips.
Get Sun While You Can
In most locations, there is still some sunlight even during the winter. Try to get some while you can. The early afternoon is one of the best times to get sunlight in the winter. If you can, try to take a walk (even a short one is good) or sit outside in the sun for a bit. If that isn’t possible, try to sit near an open window and get some rays.
There are also bright-light-emitting lamps and light boxes that are designed to help in these situations. If you can’t get natural sunlight, one of these lamps can be a good idea.
Exercise and physical activity can help improve your mood. That’s because they raise the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine, which are responsible for your mood. Exercise in the sun, such as a walk outdoors, can have increased benefits.
Eat a Healthy Diet
It’s tempting to reach for comfort foods during cold winter days, especially if you’re feeling down. However, this can negatively affect your health and your mood. Instead, try to consume plenty of fruits and vegetables. Fresh options are great, but if these aren’t readily available, frozen produce has the same nutrients and vitamins.
Talk to a Professional
If your feelings of depression are intense, you should talk to a professional. A doctor or therapist can help you come up with strategies to cope with the situation and potentially recommend medication that can help.