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Seasonal Affective Disorder

Remedies for Seasonal Affective Disorder

When we wind the clocks back, many experience the effects of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression. Symptoms often include feelings of hopelessness, irritability, lack of motivation, fatigue and decreased energy, insomnia or excessive sleeping, overeating or appetite loss, persistent aches and pains, digestive problems, and even thoughts of suicide. What is unique about SAD is that the condition occurs during a specific time of year, usually the fall and winter months. It is a time of year when our bodies are responding to the changes in the weather and to a decrease in the amount of natural daylight. Listed below are a few remedies, some of which were cited from Mayo Clinic, for the treatment of seasonal affective disorder.

Make your environment sunnier and brighter.
Open blinds, add skylights and trim tree branches that block sunlight. Sit closer to bright windows while at home or in the office.

Get outside.
Take a long walk, eat lunch at a nearby park, or simply sit on a bench and soak up the sun. Even on cold or cloudy days, outdoor light can help, especially if you spend some time outside within two hours of getting up in the morning.

Exercise regularly.
Physical exercise helps relieve stress and anxiety, both of which can increase seasonal affective disorder symptoms. Being more fit can make you feel better about yourself too, which can lift your mood.

Speak with a mental health professional.
Talk therapy, medication, or a combination of both has been shown to be effective in combatting the winter blues. Talk therapy is particularly helpful in developing coping skills, staying optimistic, and remaining focused during difficult times.