Summertime sadness? Winter blues? These aren’t just pop culture terms. Seasonal depression affects about 4 to 6% of the US population. As many as 20% of people begin to develop mild forms of SAD as the weather gets colder and the days get shorter. Even though you can’t control the weather, you can control how you react to it. Here are five ways to cope with seasonal depression.
Many people know that exercise creates endorphins and endorphins make you happy. This natural release of happy chemicals helps to elevate your mood and keep you fit throughout those long winter months.
2. Get a Light Box
Light therapy boxes give off light that mimics sun shine, which ultimately helps to alleviate or recover from season affective disorder. The light emitted from this type of box is dramatically brighter than that of regular light bulbs. Additionally, the light emitted is provided in different wave lengths. Sitting in front of your light box for about 30 minutes a day can stimulate the body’s circadian rhythms and suppress the natural release of melatonin.
3. Talk with Your Doctor
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression, which means it is best treated with the help of a mental health professional. Therapy can help you work through the warped perception many people experience while experiencing seasonal affective disorder.
4. Get Outside
This one is difficult but also most necessary. Getting outside during the day when the sun is up will allow you to take advantage of the natural sunlight. Unfortunately, many people who experience SAD also live in areas where it gets cold during the winter. Our advice is to bundle up and get out there! You will feel significantly better and nothing beats fresh air.
5. Have Fun
No, seriously. Having fun is imperative to making it through the winter happy and healthy. Finding substitutes for the mood-enhancing activities you enjoy during the summer can help alleviate symptoms. Try a new fitness class, join an indoor sports league, or take up a new hobby. Whatever you decide to try, just make sure you are having fun.
Having seasonal affective disorder is extremely common and impacts individuals all over the US in varying degrees. While some people can maintain a relatively normal life, some are seriously impacted by the limited natural light and colder temperatures. If you start to feel those winter blues, make a phone call today to speak with one of our highly trained specialists.