All Women's Talk

Super Great Tips to Help You Avoid SAD This Coming Season ...

By Eliza

Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a legitimate mental health condition that is characterized by feelings of depression, lack of energy, trouble sleeping, appetite changes, difficulty concentrating and sometimes thoughts of suicide. The condition tends to strike when the seasons change, usually starting in the fall and extending into the winter. Some people experience symptoms in the spring and into the summer. Either way, understanding the condition can help you take steps to prevent it from sidelining you this year. Of course, you should always see a mental health professional if you suspect you have SAD. Nothing on this list should ever replace treatment by a doctor.

1 Soak up the Sun

performing arts, entertainment, dance, musical theatre, sports, One of the reasons people suffer from SAD is due to the fewer hours of sunlight during the day. That darkness and the often gloomy weather can really take a toll on mood. That's why you need to soak up as much sunshine as you can. Try having breakfast near a sunny window, taking a walk at lunchtime and playing in the yard with the kids or dogs after work. The more time you spend out in the sun, the more of a mood boost you'll experience.

2 Get Some Exercise

bicycle, vehicle, cycling, sports equipment, mountain bike, Ideally, you should be working out every day, regardless of the season, but it's especially important if you suffer from SAD in the fall and winter. Exercise releases endorphins, which naturally boost your mood. Next time SAD is getting you down, try a bike ride or a walk in the park and you'll probably feel lots better.

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3 Try Light Therapy

lighting, screenshot, When there is no sunshine to be had, light therapy can be a good substitute for some people with SAD. You'll sit a few feet from a light box that simulates outdoor sunshine, which helps change your brain chemistry and "trick" you into thinking it's warm and sunny outside, producing similar feelings to those you get in the summer. You can do light therapy at home, but talk to your doctor about which light box is right for you.

4 Join a Support Group

musician, orchestra, singing, Having people to talk to who are going through the same thing as you is a great way to control symptoms and feel better in general. Talk to your doctor about a SAD support group and attend regularly. Being able to talk through the issues and get ideas from other people is a powerful way to get through the season.

5 Eat Healthy Foods

human action, hair, person, eating, nose, Eating junk contributes to a poor mood and weight gain, which can exacerbate feelings of depression. Make sure you are eating a wide range of nutritious foods from each food group to fuel your body and brain to feel healthy and happy, even when it's cold and icky outside.

6 Take a Yoga Class

physical fitness, sports, martial arts, yoga, combat sport, In addition to being a good form of exercise, yoga is great for helping you tune in to how your body is feeling and helps you release stress and unhappiness through careful breathing and keeping your body active. You can do yoga right at home or you can take a class at a local studio. Either way, you'll love the benefits.

7 Medication and Psychotherapy

black and white, nose, monochrome photography, photography, monochrome, When all else fails, you may want to talk to your doctor about taking a short-term antidepressant to regulate your mood. Seeing a therapist gives you a safe outlet for talking things through, which can help you get to the root of your SAD, which in turn helps you come to a conclusion on how you can control it this year.

Do you suffer from SAD? What do you do to feel better?

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