Tips for Fighting Seasonal Affective Disorder
As everyone around you is indulging in pumpkin spice lattes and maple pecan muffins, keep in mind that this time of year is not pleasant for everyone. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that typically appears during the autumn and winter seasons when the days become shorter, darker, and chillier.
About 4-6 percent of Americans struggle with SAD, with more people in the northern part of the country being affected. People with SAD often experience a range of symptoms, but the most common is fatigue that’s paired with oversleeping, depressive moods, and strong cravings for carbohydrates which often leads to excessive weight gain.
If someone who has SAD is struggling with severe symptoms, it can greatly impact their daily lifestyle by preventing them to go out and interact with others. To help combat SAD this season, keep the following tips in mind.
A large part of why SAD occurs in the fall and winter seasons is due to the lack of exposure to natural light. Phototherapy or Light Therapy is an easy way to gain back the exposure of ‘sunlight’ through a light box. Just make sure your light box generates at least 10,000 lux — which is 100 times stronger than a normal lightbulb — and that it has white or blue light as opposed to yellow light.
If you’re not in the market of investing in a lightbox, you could make an extra effort to find natural daylight but waking up a bit earlier, going outside to where the sun is shining, and soaking up all the sun rays.
Be Mindful Of What You Eat
With a symptom of craving more carbohydrates, it’s very easy for individuals struggling with SAD to gain a lot of weight in a short period of time. It’s important to resist the cravings or to restrict the amount of carbohydrates consumed. Also, because there is less sunlight, we are insufficiently producing vitamin D in our bodies. To ensure that you are getting enough vitamin D during the darker seasons, try taking dietary supplements. Vitamin D is also found in a range of food that is easy to incorporate into your diet.
Fight The Urge To Stay Secluded
During the dark, cold days, it’s tempting to stay inside to avoid the weather but if you want to keep your low mood and lethargy away, it’s helpful to resist the urge of staying inside in solitude. The American Psychological Association advises people to keep in touch with friends and family, but even more so to talk about what you’re experiencing.
Find A Hobby
According to John Hopkins Medicine, finding a hobby during the winter months can keep you busy and instill pleasure. Hobbies can range from DIY projects to becoming active in a winter sport. Find what works best for you and stick to it.
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