Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) is a form of depression with seasonal triggers. Shorter days that give you less light are one trigger, and colder weather also has a large impact on these feelings for many people.
You might be feeling the impacts of S.A.D. without fully realizing it… do you feel disturbingly ‘down’ during winter?
Proven Ways to Ease Seasonal Affective Disorder And Stay Happy All Winter Long
Regardless of the severity of your symptoms, here are five ways you can ease the symptoms of S.A.D.
- Use light to help ease your S.A.D. symptoms
To avoid Seasonal Affective Disorder you’ll want to let as much light in as possible. That means opening up blinds throughout the day when it’s sunny, but you can also use light therapy if your symptoms are more severe.
Light therapy is also known as phototherapy, and it’s administered via a device (light box) with white fluorescent light tubes that are covered with a plastic screen to block ultraviolet rays. You don’t look directly into the light, but instead sit 2 to 3 feet away from it while doing your normal activities like reading or eating.
If you decide to try light therapy, it’s best to begin in fall.
- Get outside, even if it’s cloudy
Try to spend time outside every day, even if it’s cold and cloudy out. You’ll still get some of the positive effects of daylight, which will help improve your S.A.D.
You could go for a walk, or simply try parking further away from work to force yourself to spend more time moving outside.
- Get enough exercise, eat well, and avoid S.A.D.
The benefits of diet and exercise absolutely extend to our mental health, but we tend to break free of those routines during the dreary winter months.
It’s best if you can get outside for some exercise, but you can work out indoors, too. Yoga is a great option that will leave you feeling calm and centered, but even doing sets of push-ups, jumping jacks, and other bodyweight movements will get your blood pumping and keep your brain happier.
- Plan a vacation to look forward to
You can also plan a mid-winter vacation to somewhere warm and full of sunshine. Try planning your trip in late fall so that you have something to look forward to until it’s time to pack your bags. As long as you can manage your expectations without becoming too antsy, this is a great way to find joy in winter.
Plus, you’ll have plenty of memories to look back on and feel grateful for when you come home.
- Talk to an experienced therapist or counselor
If you're feeling powerless in your fight against Seasonal Affective Disorder, that could be a sign that you should speak to a professional.
They’ll be able to help you understand your emotions, why you’re feeling this way, and how to best cope. You’ll walk away with skills to help you thrive through this winter and winters to come.