Posted in Anxiety

5 Ways to Steer Clear of Seasonal Affective Disorder

“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

Prof. Albus Dumbledore – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

It’s officially the start of Fall and I am starting to feel the effects of my seasonal depression. For me, it starts in the mornings when my drive to work begins in darkness and occasionally allows be to see the sunrise. When the season changes, many people start to experience effects on their mood due less sunlight and more grey days. If you’re also in a climate that gets colder over the Fall and then gets major snowfall during the Winter months, your chances of being affected is further increased.

Although the true cause of seasonal depression has not yet been pinpointed, there are positive results from light therapy and a few adjustments to your daily routine. I’ve listed below some tips to lift you up and keep up those positive feelings.

Talk It Up

Stay in touch with your tribe.  Call your loved ones and talk to the people you care about the most.  Tell them how you are feeling and what you need as support.

Get Up and Go

Start being more active through daily outdoor exercises like walking, running, skiing or other winter activities.  If your not the outdoorsy type, then aim for a class at the local gym or check out yoga or swimming options in your area. Studies have shown that exercise has a positive effect on mood.

Face Your Fears

Whatever brings on your low mood, it’s important to address it instead of running away from the feelings which will just lower your mood even more. Facing something difficult will boost your self confidence, and enable you to take control of your moods.  Battling depression is a daily fight (and it is in no way easy) but you are the boss of your emotions – I know that taking small steps can lead to big gains.

Control Your Diet

One of my symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is that I have no appetite whatsoever.  It’s normal to feel no desire to eat when you struggle with depression. The key is to choose healthy snacks, like fruits and vegetables, eat in small amounts, several times a day and find healthy versions of your favourite comfort foods. What works for me is also to prepare meals in advance, stocking up my freezer with proteins and veggies, and have healthy snack foods in the fridge.

Routine is Key

Your body needs a regular schedule of sleep, wake/sleep times, and meal times. Sticking to a regular schedule has been shown to decrease stress levels and low moods.  If you divert from your routine, you may notice increased levels of sadness and a short fuse in everyday situations.

Share in the comments and support others in finding a routine that works for them!

These tips may not work for everyone so please reach out to a professional if you can’t handle things on our own.  Sometimes the right medication and a plan of attack for your mental health struggles will help battle the depression to provide you with a sense of normalcy all year long. Whatever your personal situation, remember that there are people available to support your through this difficult time.

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha

Author:

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." - Robert Frost

6 thoughts on “5 Ways to Steer Clear of Seasonal Affective Disorder

  1. This is exactly the reason I make myself come up with like a winter bucket list each year, to motivate me to get out and do/achieve things, otherwise I am sure I would indoors from mid October until about April!

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  2. Thank you for sharing. I get SAD every year, as I work from home I play music that motivates me or podcasts that inspire me. As I have a little girl I have to have a routine of doing the school runs and we go out for the full day on Saturday or Sunday.

    This keeps us happy and living life to the full!

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  3. Great tips! I live in Nebraska, so whenever the weather tops 40-degrees, I make myself go sleeveless for 15-minutes in the sunlight. Yeah, the cold is annoying, but not as annoying as my bouts with SAD.

    Occasional winter trips to Arizona help me too.

    My family and I joke that I’m solar-powered; I wish I could get my health insurance to pay for a prescription to the Bahamas. LOL!

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  4. Super good tips! In the recent years my SAD has gotten really bad so I’m afraid of Autumn. But this year I have really noticed what a huge impact having a routine and a proper diet has. I also go running in the morning as often as the weather allows, and it allows me to get the worst aggression out of the way before going to work. Although sometimes I just can’t fight it (cloudy and dark days), and my poor, wonderful colleagues suffer from it: I lash out at whoever dares to even talk to me, even though I know there’s absolutely no need for it. I do apologize afterwards, though.

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