5 Ways to Stop S.A.D. and Feel Happy
Shorter days, cooler weather, leaves turning – for some it is a welcome change and relief from the heat and excitement of summer, but for others, the turning of the seasons from summer to fall triggers the inset of seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.). If you usually find yourself feeling down throughout the winter months, here are some things you can do to help yourself feel better until the next stretch of spring and summer.
While you may feel like pulling the covers over your head, or binge watching an old favorite while you lounge on the couch, resist the urge to hibernate during the cooler months. One of the best things you can do to brighten your mood and lift your spirits is to simply move. The first step is the hardest part – once you’re out and about, you won’t regret it. So go for a walk or a jog around the block, take an exercise class, or just put on your favorite music and dance around at home (don’t worry – nobody will see you!). You’ll be surprise what a difference a little daily movement will make.
Let the Sunshine In
Even though the sun doesn’t shine for as many hours as we would like in the fall and winter, it still shines, and often with a beauty and crispness that is unique to those seasons. Take some time to bask in the sun when the opportunity presents itself. Have your morning coffee outside, and keep your shades and curtains open to let the light pour in. Try to spend as much time as you can exposed to the daylight, and your days will brighten in more ways than one.
Stick to a Schedule
For those who suffer from S.A.D. or other forms of depression, sleep can be tricky. Some find it difficult to rest at night while others amy sleep too much. By creating a schedule that you stick to, you can get your body into a more consistent rhythm to improve your sleep and alleviate the effects of S.A.D.
Along with disrupted sleep patterns, many people find that they overeat and gain weight when they go through periods of depression. Keeping a schedule that includes eating at consistent intervals can help you stay on top of your nutrition and stay healthy. Besides, when spring arrives you’ll be in great shape to enjoy the warmer weather!
Start a Journal
Especially on those days when the sun isn’t shining and the weather won’t allow for any good outdoor activity, write down your thoughts. Whether it’s dreams of the future, memories of the past, or discontent of the present, writing down your thoughts can have a positive impact on your mood and mental health. For best results, try to write for about twenty minutes each day and plan to do your writing in the evening, when you can reflect on the day.
A Dose of Vitamin D
Many people who suffer from SAD have been shown to have low levels of Vitamin D, a vitamin we naturally absorb from the sun. But Vitamin D supplements can boost your levels and help to combat the blues. You can talk to your doctor about testing your Vitamin D levels and about what level of supplement is right for you.
Get a Head Start
Possibly more important than what you do to stay happy and healthy throughout the cooler months is when you do it. It’s never too early to get a jump start on fighting the effects of S.A.D. If you know from the last few years that these challenges are heading your way, start taking action now. Stay active, get outside, keep a schedule, and write about your feelings, and before you know it, spring will be here!