When the seasons change you have to be ready for a change in mood, especially as we move from fall into winter. Although it may not seem as drastic of a shift as you think, it matters more to our mental and physical states than you may know. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is estimated to affect around 10 million Americans a year, and this isn’t even the full number of reported cases.
As we begin to lose the summer sun and transition into the darker months of the year, depression and fatigue seem to make that transition with us. There are, however, ways to shake off the impending gloom and brighten your day; if you follow some of these steps you can combat seasonal affective disorder and find yourself being just as happy as you are in the warm summer months.
Try light therapy. Doctors have called this idea “phase shifting”. As we lose sunlight so quickly heading into the winter, you should start setting out full-spectrum lights when beginning your day. By eating breakfast and starting your daily routine under full-spectrum indoor lights, you get used to not having sunlight and can better acclimate to your new surroundings.
Exercise. Exercise. Exercise. Regular exercise works wonders for depression in general. Maintaining regular exercise habits can work to get rid of the fatigue, depression and tiredness associated with SAD.
These next two ideas go hand in hand, as both work together to not only combat SAD, but promote a healthy lifestyle.
Maintain a heart-healthy diet and get plenty of sleep. You would be surprised at the amount of people who do not follow both or one of these guidelines; I’m sure you know someone who fits into those categories. Make sure to maintain a regular sleep schedule while keeping up with a heart-healthy diet in order to fight seasonal affective disorder.
Last, but not least, try acupuncture! Acupuncture is a great solution to combating SAD. There are various points on the body that have been known to alleviate symptoms of SAD. I generally recommend patients start acupuncture treatment once per week, at least one month prior to the time that they typically begin to experience SAD symptoms.
Trying some of these techniques can really help you in the battle with seasonal affective disorder this winter.