5 Ways to Cope with Seasonal Affective Disorder

Gone are the warm days of summer, where the sun held itself in the sky long after dinner. Now, with the harsh cold weather and sometimes dangerous conditions, it’s discouraging to do everything you once did with such ease. When the weather starts to impact your daily life, you may have seasonal affective disorder (SAD). 

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It’s estimated that 6% of our country is impacted by SAD, causing people to fall into depression, be irritable, or lack the desire to engage socially. Officially, SAD is recognized as a form of depression that remits in spring and summer. If you exhibit a few of these symptoms but are not diagnosed with SAD, please contact a mental health professional before engaging in any of the below. 

Light Therapy is most effective when timed to fit an individual’s circadian rhythm. It’s best to begin this therapy 8 hours after the secretion of melatonin (the hormone that stimulates sleep). This could help lift symptoms in as little as three days.

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Antidepressants, such as selective-serotonin repute inhibitors, can relieve SAD symptoms. A study done in Canada revealed that people who took antidepressants fared the same as those with light therapy.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help change the way you think and feel about things, as researchers are finding a strong connection between SAD symptoms and behavior. This therapy entails recognizing winter activities that bring joy and gradually building up the time spent doing them. 

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Vitamin D intake declines during the winter due to the lack of sunlight, depriving our bodies of its nutrients. Vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to a multitude of illnesses, one of them being depression. Purchasing Vitamin D supplements from your local drug store or including Vitamin D-rich foods in your diet, like fish and eggs, may help you feel better.

Spending Time Outdoors is a great way to keep busy, include others, obtain endorphins through exercise, and also receive natural Vitamin D from the sun. Running with a partner allows you to engage socially, stay fit while improving your mood, and get a little bit of that December sunshine peeking out from the clouds. So grab that winter coat and go! 

 

4 Exercises that Will Blow Away the Winter Blues

By Jane Sandwood

As the leaves fall down and the air grows colder, do you feel yourself becoming sluggish and blue? Well, this might be because you’re experiencing the winter blues. As a form of Seasonal Affective Disorder, the winter blues is characterized as low mood, depression, and exhaustion associated with the lack of sunlight during winter months. It affects 14 percent of the United States and can put a real downer on your holiday season.

 

However, you don’t have to be consumed by the winter blues. Instead, you can beat it with daily exercise. Check out these four workouts that are sure to help you feeling happier this winter.

1.  Run a Marathon

Exercise promotes positive mental health and running is one of the best ways to harness this positivity. Running outside provides you with much needed Vitamin D to increase your body’s energy level. However, if you’re like most of the world, it can be hard to motivate yourself to run outside in the cold. Therefore, you should sign up for a marathon to motivate you to train. The best way of getting over the blues is to not let it bring you down. So, by spending more time outside, your brain will reinforce the idea that you’re going to embrace all of the seasons. 

2.  Swimming

A great way to beat the winter blues is to take up an activity that isn’t affected by the weather outside. By swimming in an indoor pool, you’re working your whole body which can increase energy and reduce low mood. After your session, head to the steam room or Jacuzzi to get some warmth to stimulate the summer season.

3.  Sign Up for a Dance Class

According to Psychology Today, dancing improves brain functions, forces concentration, and promotes cognitive learning. By signing up for a class you’re also getting out of your home and meeting new people. Dancing in social settings can release endorphins that reduce stress, pain and the winter blues.

4.  Ski or Snowboard

Embracing the change in temperature and climate can do wonders for your mood. So, take advantage of the snow and head to the slopes. Skiing and snowboarding will make you feel as though you conquered the season and have been scientifically proven to reduce chemicals that fuel symptoms of depression. Snow sports also combine aerobic activity and strength building, which is known to improve mental clarity and help you think.

You don’t have to be cooped up inside your home this winter. Instead, embrace the cold season and beat those blues.