This time of year brings lots of seasonal joys, holidays, time with friends and family, and yummy warm treats by the fire. However, the winter months can also bring some unhappy things as well, it gets darker outside faster, the weather gets colder, and isolation may occur. For some the winter can even bring on seasonal affective disorder as well.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or seasonal depression is a type of depression that correlates with the changes of seasons. SAD begins and ends around the same time every year. On average most individuals with seasonal depression, symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months. Symptoms can include fatigue or over-eating.
Let’s take a look at a couple of ways to possibly reduce seasonal affective disorder symptoms.
When it’s cold outside, the last thing you want to do is leave your house to run outdoors or go to the gym, but exercising even 5 minutes a day can help. This can be just a little light stretching at the office or push-ups during a commercial break of your favorite TV show. Exercise releases endorphins or natural “feel good” brain chemicals which can elevate your feeling of well-being.
Light therapy or bright light therapy is known as a way to treat seasonal affective disorder. During light therapy, you sit or work by a light therapy box which mimics outdoor light. There are numerous devices created to simulate sunlight from alarm clocks to lamps all of which are trying to create the same effect on your mental state. The goal for light therapy is to alter your mood to feel more positive.
Talk To Someone
Going to a psychiatric appointment can be tough especially when it is cold outside and you don’t want to leave your house, but remember they want to help you work through your seasonal depression, not waste your time or make you feel worse. When speaking with your local psychiatrist you can talk through what you are feeling, identify why your feeling this way and gain the ability to recognize the negative thoughts in the future and use coping strategies to overcome the issues.
These are just a few things that can be practiced to help reduce seasonal depression. Remember working through seasonal affective disorder can be a long process but stick with it, keep learning, and soon the seasons will change and hopefully you won’t feel SAD anymore.