There’s something about the energy in the air that let’s you know Autumn is coming to an end —  time goes back an hour, the sun sets earlier and the bitter, cold weather starts to set in.

But environmental transformations aren’t the only changes taking place during the Fall season. The mood and behavior of human beings is drastically affected by the chilly, darkness of the Fall and Winter months. Although most people can adapt to the drastic seasonal shift, for some, winter brings a clinical form of depression called seasonal affective disorder, a.k.a “SAD.”

According to Mental Health America, symptoms for SAD include:

Mood changes: extremes of mood and, in some, periods of mania in spring and summer

Depression: misery, guilt, loss of self-esteem, hopelessness, diminished interest in activities, despair, and apathy

Anxiety: tension and inability to tolerate stress

Social Problems: irritability and desire to avoid social contact

Sleep Problems: desire to oversleep and difficulty staying awake or, sometimes, disturbed sleep and early morning waking

Feeling any of these symptoms? You’re not alone. Hit the flip to check out these 7 tips to help you cope with Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Get some sun

Sunlight is very important to the human body. Getting out of bed in the AM during the Winter is often the hardest — so doctors say that opening the curtains and getting as much exposure to natural light as possible is a major key in fighting off SAD.

Exercise

Working out keeps the good energy flowing and keeps your mood on high. Hitting the gym or going for a run naturally releases endorphins and provides the euphoric feeling you need to get back on track.

Kick the sugar habit

Scientists believe that sugar not only has a negative effect on our physical health, but our mental health as well. According to the Daily Burn, “countries that consume the most sugar have higher rates of depression, and scientists hypothesize that it hinders the body’s ability to cope with stress and can worsen anxiety.”

Turn on the lights in your home

Brightness and exposure to light is a major key. Bright Light Therapy has been proven to drastically treat people with SAD. It is known to be a powerful regulator of melatonin and the sleep/wake cycle.

Be in nature

Fresh air is the cure for most human ailments. Studies show that spending time in nature can cause stress levels to drop greatly. Going for a walk outside is like killing three birds with one stone: you get exercise, fresh air and an abundance of sunlight.

Deep breathing and relaxation

Regardless of the ailment, deep breathing and meditation make a big difference in your overall health. Relaxing with a little yoga or meditation can help get you back to your natural balance and alleviate most of the symptoms associated with SAD.

Socialize

Talking to people is probably the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling SAD — but it’s one of the most important. Keep in mind that lots of people are experiencing the same feelings and don’t have an outlet to vent about them. Always remember that having fun is the key to a good mood, and a good mood is the key to a good life.

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