Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD or the Winter Blues, is a state of depression that many individuals face during the fall and winter. It is different than major depression since it follows a seasonal pattern and usually subsides in the spring and summer months. Winter brings cold weather, cloudy days, and shorter periods of sunlight that can heighten the effects of this disorder and leave us feeling drained, tired, moody, and unmotivated.
While there is no right way or one way to manage symptoms, here are some things you can do that may help with the winter blues:
- Get outside. The sunshine provides the vitamin D and production of hormones needed to increase your mood and energy. You can also take a vitamin D supplement, make sure you talk to your healthcare provider about the right dose for you.
- Maintain a routine. Cold weather and gloomy days can make you want to snuggle in bed all day with your favorite foods and Netflix shows but try not to let this interfere with your daily routine. Maintaining a steady schedule will help you keep up with your responsibilities and activities.
- Brighten up your surroundings. Make your house or office feel lighter by adding brightly colored decorations, furniture, or plants.
- Work it out. It can be difficult to get started, but you’ll be glad you did. Exercising will give you more energy during the day and help you sleep better at night.
- Help someone, anyone! Sometimes just the act of helping someone can bring you joy and bring a gentle reminder that you are not alone. One way you can do this is by paying for the person behind you in the drive-thru line or offering a helping hand when you see someone struggling to carry multiple items. You can also find volunteer opportunities within your community.
- Develop wintertime hobbies. These activities may differ from your usual summer or spring interests but this is a time to explore your creative side and try new things. A few examples are snowshoeing, scrapbooking, photography, cooking or baking, and writing.
- Practice relaxation or meditation and turn your attention inwards. Meditation is known to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
- Talk about it. Depression can leave you feeling helpless and alone, even when you have people who want to help. Talking about what you’re going through with a friend, family member, or therapist can allow you to get the support you need and help manage your symptoms. If you feel your symptoms are causing a major disruption in your life, then don’t hesitate to contact your doctor.
There you have it- a few suggestions to help you get through the winter blues. Give a couple of these a try, and it will be springtime before you know it.
Want to know more about SAD? Check out this article!