Many people find themselves struggling with the gloomier weather, especially in the winter months. From the rain and cold to the night’s drawing in quicker, the lack of bright and natural daylight can bring a depression in people who thrive on sunlight.
Seasonal Affective Disorder can bring on varied responses including persistent low moods, irritableness, a sense of prolonged lethargy, a lack of pleasure in everyday activities and additional weight gain. There are, however, a couple of ways to ward off the symptoms or treat it swiftly when it does occur.
- Keep a Regular Check on Your Diet and Continue to Exercise
Many of us feel tempted to comfort eat during the winter months. After all, being cloaked in big baggy jumpers, thermals and winter coats, it’s often easy to forget what we actually look like under our clothes during these miserable months!
However, this does not bode well for our weight, health and overall body image and will make us feel sluggish in response. Don’t be tempted to overeat during this period dramatically. If you do, ask yourself what can I eat to lose weight? Also, carry on with any physical activities during these months, increasing your physical levels, where necessary.
This isn’t the time to stop and vegetate, regardless of how cold and miserable it may be each and every time you wake in the morning. Keeping those energy levels up during such times can be a big part in helping your body naturally overcome SAD through such a time.
- Take in as Much Natural Sunlight as You Can
Though there may not be much during the winter months, it is still possible for SAD sufferers to get outside and experience some of the natural sunlight, even if it is just for a few hours or so each day.
Wherever possible, try to get outside when the sun is visible in the sky, perhaps sitting for a while or doing some work out in it. This way, you allow your body to benefit for the remains of the winter sun and ward off the symptoms of SAD as much as possible for as long as you can do so, before turning to other methods.
- Consider Light Therapy
SAD suffers, or indeed anyone who feels they could do with a little pick me up during the darker months, can purchase and use a lightbox. This is merely a particular lamp which stimulates the effects of natural sunlight and can be used throughout the home.
Readily available in stores and online, these lamps offer a light therapy which tricks the brain into believing it is receiving a sufficient amount of natural light thereby producing the correct hormones that tell the body it is wide awake, rather than sluggish and lethargic.
- Keep Talking to Friends and Family Members
Unfortunately, many SAD sufferers begin shutting themselves off from social contact and taking to their homes in solitude when SAD starts to hit. Though entirely understandable, this is perhaps the biggest mistake possible.
This is the time when you need to have others around you and to keep those lines of communication open. Therefore, long regular bouts of solitude at this stage will increase such symptoms as depression and aggravate your SAD to problematic proportions.
Try to let others know about your SAD in advance, as best as you can, and ask them to keep a closer eye on you when it does hit, perhaps making more contact over those specific months just to keep you on track and divert your attention as much as possible during this stage.