By Marley Archibald
As winter ushers in a season of joy and togetherness for many, it casts a shadow on the lives of an estimated 15-20 million Americans. For them, winter brings forth increased, drowsiness, waning interest in daily life, anxiety, overeating and a profound sense of guilt and hopelessness. Season Affective Disorder (SAD), colloquially kown as seasonal depression transcends the mere “winter blues” and manifests as a serious form of depression with varying degrees of severity. If you find yourself grappling with Seasonal Affective Disorder, remember that there are numberous strategies to address this condition. That’s why, here at The Elderberry Co., we’re eager to share these tips to help you maintain your well-being–both physically and mentally–this winter.
Light therapy. For many who experience SAD, the loss of sunlight hours is a trigger. As such, light therapy that simulates sunlight can help to alleviate symptoms. It is recommended to start with 30-60 minutes per day in front of the sun lamp to boost the body’s production of Vitamin D. Additionally, you can supplement your Vitamin D through capsules for additional benefit.
Spend as much time as possible outdoors during the day. Similarly to light therapy, your body needs Vitamin D from the sun to stay healthy. While light therapy is a wonderful option during the winter when daytime hours are limited, nothing beats the real thing. So, being outside as much as you can during the day can not only help your body absorb Vitamin D, but can offer a much-needed mental break in the fresh air. Plus, doing outdoor activities like going on a walk helps keep you active which can further help those with SAD.
Connect with friends and family. Though being social when experiencing depression is a challenge, isolating yourself is an easy way to slide deeper into your symptoms. As such, surrounding yourself with those who love and support you is a vital way to keep your head above water. Socializing is good for the soul, and allows those around you to keep tabs on how you are feeling.
Eat a balanced diet. Eating foods rich in the vitamins and minerals that support your body can improve your mood and lower stress, thus reducing SAD symptoms. It is also a good idea to cut down on the consumption of substances that are not as healthy, such as processed foods and alcohol.
- Know when to talk to a professional. If symptoms begin to heavily interfere with your daily life– work, relationships, home life, etc– then it is a good idea to talk to your doctor and seek treatment. While it is a scary step to take, it can make a big difference in the lives of those who have SAD.