Seasonal affective disorder, aka the rainy day blues, impacts a number of people here in the Pacific Northwest. The long and light-filled days of summer are officially gone and the dark and rainy days are here. If you or someone you know is impacted by SAD, or just has a little bit harder time getting along and having a good mood in the winter, here are 9 ways to fight seasonal affective disorder.
1. Exercise! Just getting out there and moving around for 15 minutes a day, 3 or so days a week, has been clinically proven to be as effective as taking anti-depression medication.
2. Supplement your diet. Dr. Timothy Hyatt, ND has said, “The only people in the world who have enough vitamin D in their diet are teenage girls who tan.” Unless you’re living at a tanning salon, you need vitamin D. You also need to be sure you are up on some other key supplements. Vitamin B – a full
B complex, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D should be part of your routine. Not to mention Omega 3 fatty acids. It never ceases to amaze me how many people will take a prescription medication and never take the time to supplement properly. Start here, if it doesn’t work a medication may be helpful.
3. Get a box light. There are a number of great options for lighting up your life. You can also get daylight bulbs that give a full array of light, offering a greater feel that your typical incandescent bulbs.
4. Using light to start your day. People have found it particularly helpful to wake up to light in their room. When you set your alarm to go off, turn on the lights. It mimics natural lighting more similar to summer time.
5. Get enough sleep and keep to solid routines. Your body does well with 8 to 9 hours of sleep and will operate best when you have routine sleep/wake times.
6. Stay engaged with people. We are social creatures and if you find yourself isolating – fight it! Take initiative, stay active.
7. Think and speak positive. Your mind is your secret weapon. Choose positive thoughts – choose to make it “80 and sunny” in your mind.
8. Find a winter hobby, e.g. skiing, snowboarding, curling, etc. I recently talked with a woman who moved here from the high desert. She said she was
bummed until she learned how to snow board. “Now I’m excited about winter!”
9. Generally speaking, you want to act like a non-depressed person. Winter is here. It doesn’t have to get you down. Make the best of it!