If you are finding yourself feeling down and out as soon as the weather starts to turn cold and the sun sets at 4 PM, you could be experiencing SAD. Yes, you read that correctly. SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder and it’s a form of depression that is triggered by changes in the daylight and weather. A few symptoms of SAD include, feelings of depression, tiredness throughout the day, loss of interest, changes in weight, and more.
To help get you through SAD and the long winter ahead, we’ve compiled a list of ways to help you work through some of these symptoms.
Stick to a schedule
A lot of times, changes in sleep can throw us off our normal routines. As the days get darker earlier and we want to lay around more and more, it’s important to remember to stick to your normal routine. Whether this is making your bed in the morning or a daily skincare routine, keeping a routine has numerous benefits such as, regulating sleep and eating.
Just like with other forms of depression, exercise can help alleviate symptoms of SAD and help with any weight gain that might have happened as a result of SAD. But, winter weather brings cold weather and snow, you could join a gym or try doing small exercises in your own home.
Schedule Social Activities
A great way to get out of the SAD slump is to plan things to look forward to. Covid-19 lockdown had a lot of people away from friends and family and spending more and more time alone. Now that vaccines and boosters are widely available, more people are open to bigger gatherings again. Planning a trip or even just a simple walk with friends can boost morale. If it’s really cold and/or you still have misgivings about Covid, you can set up a time to Facetime family and friends.
Get Plenty of Sunshine and Vitamin D
According to Yale Medicine, indoor lighting is pretty dim compared to outdoor lighting, and limited exposure to outdoor lighting can be detrimental to your health. Making sure you’re going outside in the sunlight for at least 20-30 minutes a day can be beneficial.
If it’s too dark or you don’t have time to get out during the day, light therapy is a great alternative. Light therapy boxes imitate the sun and are significantly brighter than normal light bulbs. To use, sit in front of your light box for 20-30 minutes a day. Continued use should improve SAD symptoms.
If you’ve tried all of the preliminary remedies to try and help your SAD symptoms, then it might be time to seek professional help. A lot of people experienced loneliness and feelings of depression during the Covid-19 pandemic and many of those symptoms could still be lingering for some. Especially the closer we get to winter. Reaching out to a licensed professional could help you regulate your symptoms.
As we approach the winter months it’s especially important to be mindful of your body. Look out for yourself and your loved ones this year and take the proper steps to help combat your SAD symptoms. Check out other methods of taking care of your mental health here.