Have you always gotten really sad and down during the winter months and were never really sure why? If so, it’s possible that you may have SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a phenomena that can cause depressive symptoms such as feeling down or depressed, unmotivated, or oversleeping. These symptoms usually only occur seasonally during the winter months when the sun goes down early and it begins to get colder. SAD can be very discouraging to live with, so here are a few tips to help you cope through this years season of SAD!
If you’re going through seasonal mental health struggles and you don’t already have a therapist, starting to see one now would be a great idea. Working with a mental health professional will help you navigate the shift that is occurring with your moods and remedy the negative consequences related to them. This will ultimately allow you to function better at work, school, or at home. Modern Therapy offers therapy sessions online which will ensure convenience and privacy.
2. Try Light Therapy
One of the most effective and recommended forms of treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder is light therapy (also known as phototherapy). SAD lights are super easy to purchase online. General recommendations state that half an hour of light therapy exposure every morning from fall to spring could help moderate your symptoms. It’s always a good idea to consult with a behavioral healthcare provider before beginning light therapy.
3. Introduce Vitamin D Supplements
When our bodies are exposed to the sun, a large amount of Vitamin D is produced. One reason why SAD may be induced is due to the lack of sunlight the body receives during the winter months. This lack of sunlight can make you feel even more depressed and sluggish. Taking a supplement to counter balance this can potentially help to offset your lack of Vitamin D production. Although, since everyone’s body is unique, you should consult with your doctor before introducing any supplements into your diet.
4. Switch up your diet.
Food can actually be used as medicine for your physical, mental, and emotional health. If you’ve been eating the same way for a while now, try switching up your diet and gauge how the changes make you feel. Here’s a link to another article on some foods you can try to incorporate in your diet to help with depressive symptoms.
5. Consider Antidepressant Medication
In some cases SAD can escalate into a severe form of depression. If that is the case, antidepressant medications can be helpful in treating the depression. Medications should always be used as a last resort after other natural remedies have been exhausted. If you are considering medication make sure to work with a licensed psychiatrist to monitor their impact.
Although winter may be making you feel down right now, try to stay positive! With the right tools and treatments, you might be able to implement something new that could completely change how you’ve been feeling. Give some of the tips above a try and hopefully you’ll be able to enjoy the next few months as much as you do spring or summer!