Dealing With Seasonal Depression

Learn about symptoms and how to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD) [Photo: file404/Shutterstock]

With the short days of winter here, are you feeling depressed and unable to function as you normally do? You’re not alone; thousands of people suffer from seasonal depression, but there are ways you can help alleviate your symptoms of the winter blues.

Talk to your doctor

Many people complain about the winter blues, but seasonal affectiveness disorder (SAD) is a clinical condition that seriously affects your mood. Your doctor can help diagnose your symptoms and may prescribe antidepressants to help you feel better.

Get outside into the daylight

If you are able to, spend as much time as you can in the daylight hours; sneak out during your lunch break to walk outdoors, for example, or make a point of walking to school or work (this way you get both some sunlight and some exercise). When indoors, try to be near windows if possible so you can enjoy some natural light even while inside.

Try using light therapy

Invest in a light-therapy box; these tools mimic natural sunlight so they can help ease the low mood you’re feeling. It may take some getting used to (the light these boxes emit tend to be quite bright) but spending a small amount of time with such a lamp can help your body adjust its circadian rhythms so you feel less depressed and lethargic.

Make sure to exercise

Working up a sweat can help your body release more endorphins into your system, endorphins being the feel-good hormones. Get outside if you can to work out, for fresh air and to get out into nature, but if you can’t, working up a sweat inside will release those same endorphins.

Maintain a regular sleep schedule

Even though you may be finding it tough to get up in the morning and fall asleep at night, do your best to try to maintain a steady sleep schedule so that you get the rest your body needs and to help ease your SAD symptoms and so that your body recognizes the consistent routine.

Tags: Depression

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