This is usually one of the bluest times of the year for me – and hundreds of thousands of other people in the U.S. who experience SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). But I feel like I’ve been coping with it much better this year. Here are some things that I think have made a tremendous impact on my more positive mood this winter season:
I’ve made it a point to get out of my apartment at least once a day – even if it’s crappy outside. Though getting outside doesn’t necessarily affect how much daylight I may or may not get, it feels so good to just get out of a cooped-up space. And I don’t know about you, but staying in one space for an extended period of time makes me feel a little stir-crazy after a while.
Talking About It
This is probably one of the oldest tips in the book, but talking about how you’re feeling (even if it’s complaining!) can relieve some of the stress and sadness you’re experiencing. Whether you’re seeking professional help or just talking it out with a friend, expressing your feelings can lift a huge weight off of your shoulders, if at least temporarily.
Accept What You’re Going Through
If you know you have SAD, you know you’re going to experience it every. single. year. It’s easier to cope with if you know what to expect and prepare for it. It’s not something you can run away from (unless you move to Florida or something), so learning to accept that this is going to be a part of your life makes living with it easier.
Have the Tools
There are certain things that can help you cope with your SAD side effects. For example, light therapy can be extremely beneficial in allowing your body exposure to daylight at certain times of the day. I have a Philips goLITE BLU energy light, and I swear by it. It’s tiny enough to fit on my desk in my tiny apartment and fairly affordable ($129.99) for the trade-off of natural energy!
Melatonin can also help in balancing your body’s circadian rhythm – which can get pretty thrown off during the winter months. I don’t use melatonin every single night, but it’s particularly helpful if I’m going through a week where I keep waking up sluggishly and can’t drag myself out of bed. Obviously I’m not a doctor, so consult with yours before adding new supplements into your life.
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It takes more than one depressive winter season to be diagnosed with SAD, so talk with your doctor if you think you’re experiencing any symptoms. It’s a completely manageable mood disorder, but it’s important to understand the facts and treatment plans.
Do you or someone you know have SAD? How do they cope with the doomy, gloomy winter months?