5 Ways to Cope with Seasonal Affective Disorder

It is the season where the weather starts cooling down and the sun sets earlier. This can affect many people’s moods. Some may even get depressed.

This is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). While depression is something that should be diagnosed by a doctor, there are certain steps that you can take to beat those winter blues.

1. Stick to a schedule.

Many people have an issue sleeping and waking up during the winter because of the extra hours of darkness. Some people end up overeating, which can lead to depression and a general feeling of being unhealthy.

Maintaining a schedule during the winter time will help you to overcome some of these issues. This includes going to bed and waking up at the same time daily and eating on a schedule. Doing so will expose you to the sun or light at predictable and consistent times.

2. Add some Vitamin D.

Adding a Vitamin D supplement to your diet may help to beat the winter blues. Because there is less sunlight in the winter time, Vitamin D levels may be depleted in the body.

The body needs Vitamin D at every level to function. It is essential to release neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. There have been studies that have shown that low levels of Vitamin D may have an effect on your moods, and they may lead to depression.

3. Exercise!

Exercise is essential for anyone who is suffering from depression. Exercise can help boost serotonin, endorphin, and other feel-good brain chemicals.

The reduced hours of daylight can reduce the body’s production of serotonin, and exercise can help the body build that back up.

Try getting outside on nice days to get some walking in, even if it is for twenty minutes. Getting regular exercise also aids in getting better sleep.

4. Get outside.

It may be cold outside, but it is good to get outside for a little while every day. If it is not possible, make sure to open the blinds in your office or home to let the light in.

Take advantage of the sunlight when it is shining. The best time to get outside is early morning after the sun rises and around noon when the sun is at its highest.

This can help you save money on expensive light therapies that are also recommended.

5. Develop wintertime hobbies.

In the summer, there is so much going on, and there is so much to do outdoors. The key to developing wintertime hobbies is to replace the fun hobbies of summer with those of winter.

You could learn a wintertime sport and join a team. You can take up extra classes at the gym, join groups like a reading group or knitting group, and take classes at your local community college.

Community colleges often offer cooking courses, art courses, and so on. There are many other activities to get out and do that are holiday related that may help lift your spirits as well.

Image: Bigstock

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