Ever notice how the shorter the days, the shorter your desire to care gets? Does the changing of the seasons tend to make you feel more down that usual? This could be Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. SAD occurs in the winter months, when the days are shorter and the sun is now out as long as it was in the summer. The lack of sunlight can bring down your vitamin D levels, which is a vitamin our body uses to help keep our mood up. Some people notice their mood start to deteriorate as fall ends and it naturally lifts once spring hits and the sun is out more often.
If you’re one of these people that experience symptoms associated with SAD, you may try some of these things to help combat it when you feel it coming on. While these are definitely things that research has shown to help improve moods, please remember that we are not in any position to diagnose SAD or give out medical advice. So consider consulting your doctor as well.
- Exercise – Regular exercise can help boost your mood and keep you motivated throughout the cold winter months
- Make and keep social plans – Try not to isolate yourself for long periods of time, even if its cold. Make plans to visit friends or loved ones and keep them!
- Plan a trip somewhere warm – If you can, plan a trip in the middle of winter somewhere warm to get away from it all for a while.
- Get out in the sun whenever possible – Even if it’s cold, get outside and try to soak up as much of that vitamin D as you can. Also remember to keep your blinds open in the daytime to allow natural light into your house as well.
- Look into a light box – Light box therapy is an indoor way to get vitamin D. These can give you the same effects of being in the sun but from the comfort of your home.
- Consider a therapist – Consider seeing a therapist to talk about the things weighing you down this winter. Remember, you don’t have to be on your last straw to talk to someone. Therapy can and should be preventative too!
- Remember self-care – Don’t forget to take care of yourself around the business of the holidays. Take some time for yourself to relax and be alone.
Whatever you do this winter, be mindful of your mental health and remember to take care of yourself!