As the seasons are changing into fall and the weather is getting colder, you may notice your mood begin to shift. The days will be getting shorter, darkness will come earlier, the sky is gray, and it’s cold. This is a recipe for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of seasonal depression. As the months roll on, knowing how to manage SAD can help keep you in good spirits to enjoy the holiday season and get you through to springtime. Here are some tips for coping with SAD over the next few months.
Talk With a Mental Health Professional
SAD is a form of seasonal depression that typically emerges in winter due to the darkness, shorter days, cold weather, and gray skies. Because it is a form of depression, talking to a mental health professional can get you the right treatments to make it through the next few months. A mental health professional can properly diagnose you and give you a form of treatment that best suits your needs. This may include medication, therapy, and other treatments.
Light therapy, also known as phototherapy, is used to simulate more sunlight when you begin your day. According to Mayo Clinic, light therapy is one of the very first treatments used when someone is diagnosed with SAD. It involves the use of a special light box that you sit near for the first hour of your day. The light is made to match outdoor light, which can improve your mood by stimulating certain chemicals in the brain. It is best to discuss with your doctor what kind of light therapy is best for you, as they can recommend models they know to be safe and effective.
Aromatherapy is a type of alternative medicine that uses your sense of smell to relax you and boost your mood. Essential oils are used to make your brain respond with more positive chemicals that lift your mood. You can use essential oils in a vaporizer, put a small dab on your wrist or neck, in your bath, or on your pillowcase when you sleep. These can help you through the dark winter days.
Writing down your feelings can help to get them out of your system. You may find that when you write down your negative emotions, it takes the weight off your shoulders that brings you down. In fact, journaling has been shown to improve mood. By taking time during the day to write down negative feelings, create a gratitude list, or just to record your day, you can greatly improve your mood and regain focus.
Meditation can put you in tune with your body and your mind. Meditation brings you into the present moment by having you focus on how you feel, where you are feeling, and what is going on in your surroundings. This can greatly relax you and lift your mood. You can also do other activities that are grounding and bring you into the present moment such as breathing exercises, guided imagery, yoga, music therapy, tai chi, and art therapy.
Did you know that exercising can boost your mood instantly? This is because the movement you do during exercising releases serotonin in your brain, which gives you more energy and improves your mood. No matter what kind of exercise you do, just make sure you are moving. You will find yourself happier, healthier, and getting through the days a little easier.
In the winter, it is more common to have a vitamin D deficiency due to low sunlight and the fact that many people spend less time outdoors due to cold weather. This deficiency can cause symptoms of depression, making your SAD even worse. Talk to your doctor about the possibility of being tested for vitamin D deficiency. If you find that your levels are low, ask what can be done, such as taking supplements. This can improve your depression greatly.
Take a Walk Outside
As stated before, people tend to spend less time outside in the winter because of the cold and gray weather. However, going outside can give you a change of scenery and give you sunlight. Studies show that this is especially helpful within the first two hours of waking up in the morning. Consider going for a walk, sitting at the park, or just taking a stroll around the neighborhood.
Have a Routine
Having a routine can keep you productive and busy. It is easy to get caught up in the darkness of winter and want to curl up in bed, but this won’t help you feel better. By having a daily routine, you can keep yourself busy and give yourself a sense of purpose during the winter months. This will help improve your depression by distracting you and making you feel like you are progressing in work and life.
At Hired Power, we pride ourselves in giving superior treatment to our clients. You can be sure that with us, you will be given tried and tested ways to heal and improve your life. We hope to help clients make it through hard times and realize their full potential. The winter months can be dark and depressing, but they don’t have to cause you to slow down. Taking time for yourself and ensuring you have a daily routine will keep you distracted and focused on progressing in your goals through the winter months. SAD doesn’t have to take over your life. By following these tips, your seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can be managed. However, if things don’t seem to improve and you need to reach out, you can always call us for treatment options at (800) 910-9299. You don’t have to struggle alone, we are here to help.