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3 Ways to Cope with Seasonal Affective Disorder.

A woman's hand is covered by raindrops on a window, illustrating seasonal affective disorder.

Loss of Light Leaving You Depressed & Anxious?

Around this time of year (as the season’s change), many people find themselves feeling a little different. Nearer one end of the spectrum, people feel only slightly sleepier or less motivated. On the other end of that same spectrum are some people who suffer from something called Seasonal Affective Disorder. While every case is unique in severity, many people with Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.– a form of depression) feel exhausted, deeply unhappy during certain months of the year, or sometimes even emotionally numb. It can feel very difficult to cope. (Side Note/Disclaimer: If you feel like you are experiencing depression symptoms, it’s very important that you see a professional who can correctly diagnose & treat your condition.) That being said, here are three things to keep in mind when trying to cope with Seasonal Affective Disorder or any lowered, depressed mood you believe is related to seasonal changes. 

  1. Stay as active as possible (& maintain that routine).

There’s nothing more frustrating than someone telling you to cope by “just exercising” when you share about your low or anxious mood. That being said, research has shown (time & time again)  that getting our bodies moving can help with symptoms of depression & helps release endorphins that make us feel nice. As the skies begin to darken earlier, including a gentle form of exercise in the afternoon can, ironically, help keep energy levels from plummeting. We recognize that exercising when you already feel depressed or anxious sometimes feels impossible. Try a form of exercise you really enjoy, or you can even just jump some rope while watching your favorite TV show. 

  1. Try a light-box / alarm clock. 

Some people find that “light therapy” or using a light-box lamp helps their seasonal affective disorder. While this option is not always budget-friendly, there are quite a few cost-effective options on the market! Many people have also found sun-light alarm clocks helpful for substantially minimizing depressed and anxious feelings in the morning. These alarm clocks slowly brighten the room around you & mimic the rising sun. This can help adjust your circadian rhythm by stimulating your pineal gland. For people who struggle to cope, specifically in the mornings, this can be a real game-changer. 

  1. Eat nutritious foods. 

While an important part of self-care is eating your favorite yummy snacks, it’s also important to focus on nutrition to help nourish your body/brain. If you’re challenged by Seasonal Affective Disorder, it’s important to include protein-rich snacks to keep you energized & also to include healthy fats like salmon, avocado, and your favorite nuts. These foods can help you maintain a good nutritional balance & help fuel your brain. Some studies have shown that these anti-inflammatory foods can help when someone feels anxious and depressed. 

While these suggestions will not “cure” S.A.D. They can be great additions to psychotherapy.

Take care of yourselves & stay warm! 

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