Feeling SAD? How to Cope with Seasonal Affective Disorder

Feeling SAD? How to Cope with Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD manifests as mood changes and symptoms similar to depression. For most people, the symptoms occur during the fall and winter months when there are shorter daylight hours and less sunlight. ​Researchers have linked the symptoms of SAD to a chemical imbalance in the brain. As the seasons change, individuals experience a shift in their internal biological clock or circadian rhythm that can result in them feeling out of step with their daily schedule.

Symptoms of seasonal depression include fatigue even when sleeping, feeling sad with no real cause, loss of interest in activities, feeling worthless, and others similar to depression. If you or someone you know experiences symptoms of seasonal depression, we’re here to share ideas for naturally boosting your serotonin levels and improving overall mood and well-being.

​​​​​​Find the Light

Studies have shown that light therapy can be extremely effective at improving symptoms of SAD. Light therapy can involve sitting in front of a light therapy box, swapping your home office or primary living space to allow you to sit near a window during daylight hours, or making a concentrated effort to be outdoors when the sun is shining.

Talk About It

It can be even more important to find creative ways to stay connected during the colder, darker months of the year if you struggle with seasonal affective disorder. Reach out to friends or family to plan get-togethers, meet for coffee, or simply talk about what is going on in your life.

Stick to a Schedule

For those who suffer from seasonal depression, maintaining a regular schedule can help counteract symptoms. Staying consistent with day-to-day activities can also regulate the times you are exposed to natural light, which can be beneficial to your circadian rhythm.

Make Moves

Regular physical activity, even a walk around the block or a quick dance in your kitchen, boosts the production of serotonin and endorphins which can improve mood and reduce stress. 

Try Something New

Try your hand at painting, pick up a new knitting hobby, or spend a few minutes writing in a journal. Activities that spark creativity and expression can increase serotonin levels and promote a sense of fulfillment. 

If you are experiencing persistent mood disturbances or symptoms of depression, it is critical to seek professional help from a healthcare provider.

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