Seasonal affective disorder

If you suffer from SAD, here are a few tips to help you cope better:

Spend time outside
Get outside as often as you can. Take a walk every day if you are able. If weather allows, take your lunch break in a park or at an outdoor cafe. On weekends, plan activities that will keep you outdoors for as long as you can. The more light you are exposed to the better.

Reach out to a counselor/therapist
Find a trained clinician specializing in depression who can help you examine potentially distressing issues in your life that might be exacerbating the SAD. A counselor/therapist may help you change negative thinking patterns that leave you in a constant state of worry. Perhaps these unresolved emotional issues could be adding to your depression.

Try light therapy
Make your environment sunnier and brighter. Open windows and blinds and remove any exterior obstacles that block sunlight from entering your home. You may also want to sit closer to bright windows at home or in the office. In severe cases, when a great deal of exposure to light is necessary, people buy light boxes and “phototherapy” lamps which they sit under for up to 45 minutes per day.

“Move a muscle, change a thought” is a good slogan to remember. Physical activity not only produces endorphins in the brain that make you feel happy but exercise also helps to focus the mind on your body for a change. Remember, the mind cannot be in two places at the same time. Exercise helps to shift your focus.

Consider medication
In combination with talk therapy, anti-depressants can also help to regulate the balance in serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain that affect mood and energy. Medication is not for everyone but for many it can be a positive game changer.