Managing Seasonal Affective Disorder: 7 Ways to Improve Your Mood, Your Health and Your Life
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that tends to affect people during the winter as the days become shorter. Symptoms include low energy, feelings of hopelessness, weight gain, food cravings (especially carbohydrates) and trouble sleeping. While most people experience a “bad day” here and there during the cold, winter months, those who experience SAD feel depressed most days of the week.
Looking to manage your Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) more proactively in 2021? Good for you! We recommend starting with the interventions that have proven to be most effective, and then adding other things to the mix to see what works best for you.
- Bright light therapy is the most recognized intervention for treating SAD, UV light deprivation depression, circadian rhythm sleep disorders, and the so-called “winter blues.” Using a SAD bright white light therapy device throughout the morning and during the day has been proven to lift people’s spirits and make them feel happier. Keep in mind, however, that not all bright light therapy devices are created equal. The SunBox Company’s SAD lights are the original, and have been prescribed and recommended by more than 2,500 health professionals since 1985.
- Making small dietary changes can have a big impact on your feelings of well-being as well. Eating foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin D, and reducing your intake of caffeine, alcohol, and sugar, can work in conjunction with light therapy to lift your spirits.
- Getting more active may be the last thing on your mind when you’re feeling low or lethargic, but adding more movement to your daily routine is often an important part of feeling better emotionally and physically.
- Talking to a life coach can also lighten your mood because it is behavior-based. A good life coach can help you focus on building healthier habits and encourage a sustainable routine of self-care, especially during the darker winter months.
- Incorporating mindfulness into your daily life can help you feel calmer and more in control. Affirmations or breathing exercises are simple things you can do to keep yourself feeling grounded.
- Aromatherapy can also lift your spirits and improve your mood. Adding essential oils– especially peppermint, ginger, cinnamon, and clary sage– to inexpensive diffusers throughout your home or workplace can be energizing.
- Holistic therapies, like massage, reiki, and reflexology may not work for everyone, when combined with light therapy and other symptom management techniques, can also help to reduce tension and brighten your mood.
Seasonal Affective Disorder varies in severity from person to person. Many people report great success with a treatment plan built on a foundation of bright light therapy– either a self-styled regimen or one prescribed by a physician. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your primary care provider if you feel you need medical support. There is a way to feel better. At SunBox, we’re here to help.