Ways to Combat the Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder
When you have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the holiday season can become something you dread rather than anticipate. Dark winter months and decreased opportunity to go outside and enjoy the sun are the top culprits of this illness. Though SAD can sometimes be debilitating, there are ways you can handle the symptoms and enjoy the holidays. Here are a few tips on battling your SAD for the holidays.
Consider Vitamin D Supplements
Lowered levels of Vitamin D is the top cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Vitamin D is produced when sunlight hits your skin, meaning you aren’t producing as much during winter months. Vitamin D supplements can be taken in the form of capsules, potentially eradicating your SAD. It can also be a good idea to incorporate other depression-fighting activities with Vitamin D supplementation.
Purchase an Artificial Sun Lamp
Artificial sun lamps mimic sunlight indoors, allowing your body to produce vitamin D on its own. This increase in “sun” exposure will boost your mood and effectively combat the effects of SAD. Pick a time during the day when you will be sitting in the same spot for at least twenty minutes. It may be while you’re watching TV, drinking coffee, crafting, or even at work.
Set the lamp up in your space and spend some time getting exposure to the full-spectrum lighting while you go about your day. You may be surprised by how much better you feel.
SAD is a sub-type of depression, meaning it can be managed in a similar way to other forms of depression. Exercise is one of the top ways to manage many mental illnesses and can work wonders for your well-being. Exercising in the winter time can be tough without going outside, but there are ways to get active without freezing.
TV workouts are a great option for keeping things interesting while getting active. Pick your favorite movie or show and write a list of exercises associated with occurrences in the story. Similar to a drinking game (but much better for your health), a good example might be doing twenty jumping jacks each time Harry Potter casts a spell.
Take Advantage of the Power of Meditation
True, it is easier said than done to get ourselves in the mood to exercise or get out and about when we are experiencing SAD. If you’re finding it difficult to exercise consistently, meditation is a proven method for relieving SAD. Our mood and emotions strongly affect our mind and body, so naturally regulating our perspective is a powerful treatment.
Meditation helps relax the body and the mind. This relaxation decreases activity in the brain associated with stress and allows parts of the brain associated with happiness to thrive. Pairing meditation with the use of a sun lamp can have increased benefits during the winter months. So, when the crush of the holiday season starts to overwhelm you, sneak away from the hustle and bustle for a few minutes of meditation each day.
Stay Away From Addictive Substances
Depression and addiction tend to go hand in hand and when you are struggling with SAD, abusing addictive substances becomes a greater risk. The holidays are often a time for drinking and self-indulgence. However, it may be best for you to steer clear of the alcoholic drinks and other such addictive substances. Consider sparkling juices or other nonalcoholic drinks this holiday season.
There are many ways you can manage the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. From exercising to increasing your body’s vitamin D levels, you can certainly find a method that works best for you. Test a few of these options and see which will allow you to best enjoy the holiday season.
Laura Baker is a guest writer for MINDSET and is a blogger for the creativity and lifestyle site LearnFit.org. She considers herself “a DIY-er extraordinaire”. She is passionate on everything DIY, and keeping a happy and positive self.