Winter is generally the time when we get in tune with our lazier sides and would rather stay home binging Netflix than face the responsibilities of life. But to some, winter brings more than just an urge to hibernate. You may begin feeling down in the dumps, hopeless, and moody. Or maybe you’ve begun withdrawing from friends and family. Physically, you might be fatigued and lacking energy. These are just a few symptoms of the very common condition (affecting more than 3 million people annually) known as Seasonal Affective Disorder; or S.A.D for short. If you think you may have a mild form of this depressing disease, here are some remedies to help deal with the winter blues.
Being inside all the time to avoid the cold can do more damage than good. Rather than staying cooped up in your PJs, try and get some fresh air in your lungs. Exercise is probably the best way to get your mood up. Try something like dancing to your favorite tune or take a quick jog around the block. But if you’d rather not sweat and exhaust yourself, a light walk is recommended, or even just sitting on your porch to enjoy the cool winter breeze. Anything that will get you up, out, and active.
The main cause of S.A.D. is sunlight deprivation. Of course, with it being winter and all, the sun generally doesn’t get out much. Thankfully, there’s technology that can help you get that much needed light exposure. Light boxes* are a handy and affordable therapeutic measure for all ages. They come in all shapes and sizes with most being easily portable. For use, experts recommend using it for at least 20 minutes every morning from fall-winter or whenever your symptoms start to kick in. It may seem like a large commitment, but it can make a huge difference in your quality of life if you’re consistent. For more details/tips on the uses of light therapy, check out this helpful article.
*Keep in mind that this remedy does have a few minor side effects if overused.
A few more treatments include eating a healthier diet, opening up your blinds in the morning to get more sunlight, and taking vitamin D supplements. Of course, as with all treatments, time is needed to see some results. If you’re not seeing any positive changes or if you feel you have a more serious case of S.A.D., please consider seeing a psychiatrist or checking out Cognitive Behavioral therapy.