Easing the Symptoms of SAD
If you’ve noticed that you tend to feel down in the dumps during the fall and winter months, there is a chance that you could be suffering from Seasonal affective disorder or SAD as it is so aptly known as.
SAD is a kind of seasonal depression that is triggered by changes in the seasons, most commonly in winter. Although experts aren’t exactly sure what causes SAD, they believe it could be to do with a lack of sunlight in our day, as well as disruptions to our circadian rhythms.
The good news is, there are lots of things you can do to ease the symptoms of SAD and have the best winter you can possibly have. Let’s take a look at some of them now:
Therapy and medication
If you have a really bad dose of the winter blues, it’s a really good idea to see your doctor because quite often, antidepressant medication and a good therapist can help you to manage your symptoms very effectively. Alongside that, you will find several other things to try below...
Since a lack of daylight is thought to be a primary cause of Seasonal affective disorder, it stands to reason that treating the condition with light would work, and for many people it does.
Light therapy basically involves sitting in a room with a light therapy box, which emits a light that mimics sunlight. Usually, just 30 minutes in front of this box when you wake up in the morning is all you need to get your circadian rhythms back into sync and your depression under better control.
Of course, if you can get some actual sunlight, that’s even better, but depending on where you live, that may be completely impossible in the winter, and in that case., a light therapy box is ideal.
Some people find that aromatherapy can really lift their moods when they are struggling with feelings of unhappiness and depression. This is because various essential oils have been shown to influence the area of the brain that is responsible for our moods, as well as our appetites and sleep cycles.
The best essential oils for SAD are jasmine, sandalwood, neroli, bergamot, and lavender. However, feel free to experiment and see which scents work best for lifting your spirits. Simply diffuse a few drops using an oil burner or atomizer, or mix with a little carrier oil and place in the bath.
Create a cozy environment
It’s easy to feel depressed when it’s cold and damp outside, you’ve barely seen the sun in weeks and your sleep schedule is screwed up, but one thing that can really help is making your home as cozy and inviting as possible. From installing shutters for windows to keep the heat in, to buying a big furry throw you can nestle down under in the evenings, and buying a nice scented candle to boost your mood, there were so many little tweaks you can make yo your home to support you through SAD and hopefully ease your symptoms.
Often, the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling down is exercise. However, exercise is brilliant, for many people, at getting those positive endorphins flowing. If you can exercise outdoors, then that will be even better for you because fresh air and nature, even when it’s cold and wet, have been shown to relieve stress and alleviate the symptoms of depression. 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each day should be enough to have an impact but do be aware that exercise does not boost the mood of everyone and a small percentage of people will not get the runner’s high. If you are one of them, don’t let it get you down, and try another idea from this post instead.
Keep a schedule
Maintaining a daily schedule is a great way to help alleviate your SAD symptoms. Why? Because when you have a regular schedule, it’s easier to regulate your circadian rhythms and get a good night’s sleep which will undoubtedly make you feel at least a little better. Ry to stick to your schedule even at the weekends because although you may fancy a bit longer in bed, there is a good chance you will pay for it later.
SAD is really tough, but there are, as you can see, so many things you can do to improve your situation and hopefully have an easier time of it this year. If, though, things don’t improve, do speak to your doctor - don’t suffer in silence.
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