6 Ways to Manage Seasonal Affective Disorder
Has the weather got you down? You're not alone. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real type of depression related to changes in seasons. But don't let it get in your way. Here are 6 solutions to combat SAD symptoms.
Get Up, Get Out!
Do your best to get outside, even in gloomy weather. True sunlight will be more effective in helping SAD symptoms than the lighting in your home. The sun is strongest in the afternoon, so try to step outside during peak sunshine hours. Even better, get out first thing in the morning to feel some sun, which can help re-adjust your internal clock.
Bring Brightness In
Brighten up your home with better lighting, additional lamps, and lighter-colored paint, furniture covers, rugs, and curtains. Also, keep windows exposed to welcome in as much sunlight as possible.
Time Your Morning Light
Make your mornings less grueling with a bedside light installed with a timer. If you set the timer for one half hour before you’re due to wake up, the morning light will help reinforce your natural circadian rhythms, which can get confused when there’s no morning light outside.
Ditch the Dark
Avoid habits that can make your depression worse, like watching television. Since TV viewing often happens in the dark, the lack of light combined with physical inactivity won’t be so great on your mood. Instead, find activities you can enjoy in a brightly lit room. Play board games with friends and family, cook dinner with music playing in the background, or simply read with all the lights on.
Choose the Right Lights
It helps to have the best indoor lighting possible to avoid sinking into the depths of SAD. Luckily, full-spectrum fluorescent lighting can do the job, as it mimics natural sunlight. Unluckily, installing fluorescent lights overhead can be expensive. Instead, buy a compact full-spectrum fluorescent light bulb and install it into a lamp that you can use while reading, eating meals, and just generally biding your time till summer.
Pick yourself up by picking up some new outdoor hobbies—like winter sports! Ice skating, skiing, and snowshoeing are all great reasons to get outside and move around. It’s the long, dark days and not the chilly weather that’s bringing you down. Just be sure to bundle up!
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