Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that some people experience with the changing of seasons. Usually, it is associated with the transition from fall into winter, but it can also happen during the summer. Either way, there is a noticeable pattern with signs of SAD due to many external factors. Here are some ways you can identify SAD and work to overcome some of the symptoms.
Spend Time Outdoors
SAD is thought to be caused by fewer hours of sunlight due to the shift of the planet’s position going into the autumn and winter months. It is also believed to be linked to the production of melatonin, a hormone that we produce when it is dark outside. Not getting enough sunlight can affect your mental and physical health. Therefore, it is important to remember to get outdoors and soak up the sunshine even during the colder months.
Snow activities, such as snowshoeing, skiing, and sledding are all fun ways to spend time outside in the cold, if you’re in a country where you have snow. Weather permitting, a walk around the neighbourhood is a more manageable daily outdoor activity that you can do with a furry friend or family member.
Not only will you be able to maximise your vitamin D intake, but you will also be able to spend quality time with your walking partner. If you’re finding it difficult to leave the house to get your vitamin D, consider taking a supplement or buying a sun lamp.
Exercise can help boost energy levels by producing endorphins, giving you that “runner’s high” feeling and keeping your SAD symptoms at bay. Some of the outdoor activities listed above are also great methods of exercise, but if you can’t get outdoors to get active, have no fear. There are many at-home workout videos on the internet that you can follow along with. Whether it’s yoga, Pilates, or HIIT, find what works for you and get into a routine.
If getting outside of the house is high on your priority list this time of the year, we hear you. Try taking a tour of a local fitness center or gym that you’ve never been to. You may find that you enjoy being around other people who are as motivated to move as you are. Not every “New Year’s Resolution” has to start on January 1st, you can set goals on your own time.
Seek Professional Advice
If you feel like you’re experiencing more than just a case of the blues, consider talking to your doctor or therapist about next steps. Medication may not be right for everyone, so it is important to consult with your healthcare professional about what is best for you. These conversations are not always easy to have, but keep in mind that your mental and physical health always come first.
If addressing your mental health seems intimidating or you don’t have a therapist, consider an online teletherapy service. Over the past few years, virtual appointments have grown in popularity because of their practicality. Many people feel more comfortable in their homes than in an office,which is important for a productive session.
Writing and journalling are two ways to get your thoughts onto a page and out of your head. This tip is especially important to consider if you feel like you’re stuck in a creative rut. You can draw, write fiction, or find prompts to follow online.
Gratitude journalling is a great way to reflect on what you are thankful for in your life and is especially relevant with Thanksgiving coming up. This holiday season, consider sending a Thanksgiving card to the people in your life that make you feel grateful. It will make them feel appreciated and you are sure to feel good about it too.
You can even try a meditation colouring book. In the past, it may have seemed like an activity meant for a younger group. But now, it is gaining popularity because it can be calming and a great way to focus your mind for a while. When you’re finished, you’ll have a piece of art that you created and can hang up wherever you’d like.
During these cooler and busier fall and winter months, it is important to make time for yourself and your mental health. SAD is not something to be ignored or swept under the rug. If you are looking to read more about mental health, check out our other blog posts!
Disclaimer: This article is intended for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Consult a medical professional if you are seeking medical care or treatment.
Brian Thomas is a contributor to Enlightened Digital. He enjoys reading and researching tech and business. When he’s not looking into the latest trends, you can find him out cycling.