Seasonal Affective Disorder: How to Lift Yourself Out of the Winter Blues

SAD. An appropriate acronym for the "winter blues," SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder. The symptoms begin in the fall and generally lift around May of the following year. While SAD is typically milder than other depressive disorders, it is still not easy to cope with and manage.

But millions of people suffer from seasonal depression. Here's how to cope with SAD and find your happy again.


1) Exercise those blues away - While exercising in the winter isn't always the easiest thing to do, what with the plummeting temperatures and black ice and all, it's important if you feel those winter blues coming on to get your body moving. Try doing some housework on days that it's too cold to go outside. Not only will you feel accomplished, but you'll also get your blood pumping and those endorphins (our natural pleasure chemicals) released.

2) Natural sunlight - Even opening the blinds of the window or taking a quick walk through the park can help with sunlight exposure. Natural sunlight does wonders for your mood and can even decrease feelings of depression.

3) Light therapy - If natural sunlight and exercise aren't doing the trick, light therapy can be used to alleviate the blues. Specialized light bulbs placed in lamps around the house can help fight SAD and get you feeling like yourself again!

4) Vitamins - Because the winter months often find those of us in colder climates staying indoors more often, we're not getting some of the essential nutrients from the sun, such as vitamin D. Start out by taking a multivitamin regularly (usually once a day, but read the package instructions) and see if that helps chase the winter blahs away.

5) Don't isolate - Depression is one of those nasty mental illnesses that can leave you feeling lethargic, low, and not interested in going out and doing things. Getting off your butt and hanging out with friends can do wonders to lift moods and spirits, which can beat depression into submission.

6) Eat well - If you feel the winter blues coming on, it's easy to dive into a tube of Pringles or a gallon of ice cream and park your butt on the sofa. It's hard to want to plan out and enjoy a nice, healthy meal, but it's vital to eat right while you're dealing with seasonal depression. Eating well helps boost mood, increases the levels of essential nutrients in your diet, and can give you the energy you need to get through the day.

7) Get some help - If you find that these home-care remedies for seasonal depression don't quite do the trick, it's time to talk to your doctor. Be sure to talk about your mood, when the depression began, your symptoms, and other information pertinent to making a proper diagnosis. There's no shame in being unable to beat Seasonal Affective Disorder on your own!

Have you dealt with seasonal depression? How do you manage the symptoms?


Image via g'pa bill/Flickr

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