SAD, better known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, is a type of depression seen as the seasons change and Fall turns into Winter. Between 4% and 6% of people in the United States get SAD, while another 10% to 20% may have mild SAD symptoms. But there are ways to avoid this seasonal depression if you put in a little bit of work and there is no better time to get working on that than right now.
Staying active during the colder winter months is a challenge. But, that doesn’t make it any less important. Staying active in Winter is very important to your mental health as it keeps your whole body from going into a depressive state.
You don’t even have to leave your house to stay active. You can do workout videos that are free on Youtube. Which one you decide to go for is entirely up to you. Make sure you’re active at least two or three times a week, spread out throughout the week.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m cold, I mean freezing, it brings my whole mood down. It’s hard to be laughing and happy when you’re cold. On the other hand, when I’m warm, being happy is incredibly easy. Consider how comfortable you are under the blankets on a cold morning. Staying warm may not keep you from experiencing seasonal depression, but it will make fighting it easier.
Light therapy is perhaps the most effective way to combat SAD there is. This involves using a purpose-built lamp that mimics the sun. This fantastic tool is used a lot in Alaska and other northern regions with reduced sunlight in the winter. But it also works well for people living in other parts of the world that cloud over all winter. These lamps stimulate your brain to produce more serotonin, which impacts your mood, and less melatonin, which makes you sleepy. Thereby helping you keep your motivation and mood up while helping you feel less like you’re dragging your feet throughout the winter months.
Even when it is cold and raining, there are benefits to being outside in nature. Studies have shown that getting outside a few times a week, even just for short walks in a local part, can significantly impact your mental health. If you want to take it to another level, touching nature while enjoying it increases how much this helps. That might mean walking barefoot in the grass or even hugging a tree.
While you’re outside, you are also getting fresh air into your lungs and getting active, which, as I said before, is great for your mental health.
Embrace the Social Butterfly
Finally, there is this tendency during winter, especially in places with awful weather, for people to retreat into their homes. They only go out when they must, and in doing so, they lose a lot of time with other people. This leads to an increase in loneliness and yes, depression. I’m not saying you must be doing something consistently, but try to see your family and friends as often in winter as you do in the summer. It will go a long way towards helping yourself and helping them make it through winter.
Our well-being is essential. Please pay attention to your triggers for depression. Should these exercises not help, please do see a therapist.