5 Ways to Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder

Do you feel blue when the weather turns grey? You might suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a type of depression linked to the change in seasons and is commonly caused by a lack of exposure to light. Here are some ways to combat symptoms when the changing weather starts to wear you down.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a mental health condition where symptoms of depression surface during the colder, darker and shorter months of the year. If you live with SAD and you’re wondering how to cope with its symptoms, here are a few things to try.

1. Get Outside

While it might be cold, choose to bundle up on those days when the sun is shining and spend some time outside. If you get some natural light in your system within the first few hours of your day, your mood will feel uplifted and you’ll be better prepared to face the day.

2. Get Light

Some doctors might recommend using a light box and light therapy to relieve symptoms of SAD. Treatments can range in brightness and type of light and users typically sit in front of these lights for 30 minutes a day. This stimulates the body’s circadian rhythms and suppress its natural release of melatonin.

3. Exercise

Regular exercise helps to reduce symptoms of depression, SAD included. Chemicals in the brain known as endorphins are released when we exercise and make us feel positive. So when you’re feel down during the winter, try an winter sport or hit the gym to boost your mood.

4. Get Nutrition

A lack of serotonin and vitamin D in our body can make us feel depressed, so try consuming foods that are rich in these two nutrients. Complex carbohydrates will help increase serotonin and fortified milk or supplements can help you get extra vitamin D.

5. Seek Professional Help

Above all else, if you are feeling depressed during any time of year—winter months—it’s important to seek the help of a mental health professional. They will be able to guide you towards the best and healthiest coping mechanisms for your unique situation.