How To Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder This Fall

September 5, 2016  |  
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Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that around 4 to 6 percent of Americans develop in the winter each year. SAD typically sets on during the changing of the seasons, when the sun begins to set earlier, meaning people get far less of that essential vitamin D. Many people, unfortunately, don’t take SAD as seriously as other forms of depression because they just think, “This will go away in the spring or summer.” But that is still several months spent feeling very depressed and unlike yourself. And just like any other form of depression, SAD can make it very difficult for a person to carry out their daily tasks, and do things that are important for their health, like exercise and socialize. Ironically, one of the reasons SAD sets on in the winter–especially in places with severe winters–is because the weather makes it harder for people to socialize. Nobody wants to tough out the icy streets and windy roads, so they stay indoors. But, like we said, you don’t need to live with SAD. Here is how to beat seasonal affective disorder this fall and winter.

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Shutterstock

Dawn simulators

Isn’t it much better to wake up slowly, peacefully to the rising sun than to the abrupt sound of your alarm? That’s exactly what dawn simulators let you do. Studies have found that waking up under these conditions is much more calming for the brain than waking up to a loud sound.

Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Light therapy

Light therapy utilizes a special lamp that reproduces the same type of light as the sun. Sitting under one of these lamps for just 30 minutes a day can do wonders for combating SAD.
"aromatherapy oils"

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Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy can treat several ailments, including SAD. Try sitting in a bath with lavender essential oils at night–it’s one of the best scents for elevating mood.
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Shutterstock

Get up earlier

Since the sun is setting earlier, adjust your clock along with it. Getting a couple extra hours of real sun light is very important right now. If the sun is up at 6, get up at 6 am and just go to bed earlier.
Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

And stroll at noon

Noon is when the sun is strongest. So put your scarf and coat on, and go for a walk during your lunch break for authentic vitamin D.
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Shutterstock

Take vitamin D

Since you’re not getting as much of it as you would in the summer months, take a synthetic form of the stuff if you slack on fruits and veggies.
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Shutterstock

Keep social appointments

Start filling up your social calendar early for the fall and winter months. Staying social is an important part of feeling happy, but it can be hard to do in extreme weather conditions.
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Shutterstock

Get a phone call buddy

If you know of somebody else who suffers from seasonal depression, agree to chat on the phone every morning and/or evening. Those can be the toughest times of day for people with SAD because they’re very dark.
Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Keep a regular sleep schedule

This is an important part of fighting any depression. But it can be very hard to keep to a normal sleep schedule in the winter. The darker days make people want to sleep late. But resist the urge to sleep until 1 pm on the weekends–this can lower your mood.
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Plan a vacation

Why not just get out of there like the birds do? Fly to warmer skies. Having a vacation to look forward to and going on said vacation, to a warmer climate, can bust you out of SAD for a while.
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Don’t diet now

You always need carbs to keep your brain functioning properly. If you suffer from SAD, you need all the help you can get in the brain department right now. So this is no time to cut carbs–that will leave you feeling groggy on top of depressed.

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Image Source: Shutterstock

But do exercise!

Don’t get it wrong; you’re still taking care of your fitness. You need your endorphins right now. Consider signing up for group fitness classes, so you get socializing and exercising all in one place.
Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Play music

The winter months can feel lonely just because the streets become very quiet. Set your radio to play music first thing in the morning, and when you come home in the evening, so you never come home to a silent home.
Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

See a therapist

SAD can be treated in similar ways to regular depression. Seeing a therapist during this time, just to stay ahead of negative thoughts, can be very helpful.
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Shutterstock

Know that it will pass

Simply reminding yourself that seasonal depression is just that, seasonal, can be very helpful. Just knowing that this will pass gives you hope, and inspires you to do the other things on this list.

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