Colder temperatures, snow and the general malaise of the winter months can have us feeling down and depleted.
In a previous blog, we discussed seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – a type of depression that’s felt as the seasons change and the colder weather sets in. Today, as promised, we’re going to dive into the options that are available to help you treat and manage your SAD symptoms during these cold, dreary winter months!
Let’s get right to it and start to turn that frown upside down.
While there are medications such as antidepressants out there that can help calm the symptoms of SAD, especially if they are severe, we want to first look at the non-prescription-based treatment options that are available.
In the winter, more times than not, we arrive at work when it’s dark and we leave work when the sun is about to set. The general lack of sunlight can have us feeling down –a common complaint among those suffering from SAD. That’s why many health professionals will suggest light therapy. Also known as phototherapy, this treatment option requires you to sit a few feet away from a special light therapy box that mimics natural, outdoor light for about 30 minutes a day. This type of therapy can positively change brain chemicals that are associated with mood.
Rise and shine
Getting out of bed in the morning is difficult enough, but it’s even more of a problem during the winter when it’s cold and dark outside. Newly introduced dawn simulators can help you naturally and calmly wake up in the mornings. Rather than an abrupt alarm clock, a dawn simulator produces light that gradually increases to become brighter, much like the sun. So, when the “sun” rises, you rise out of bed too!
Focus on your fitness
Exercise is suggested for many medical conditions, including SAD. This is because when we exercise, our body creates and releases powerful chemicals known as endorphins that help us feel a surge of energy and positive emotions. Bonus: Not only can exercise help boost your mood, it can also help you stave off the dreaded winter weight gain.
Don’t let the winter blues get to you. If you’d like to learn more about SAD and the viable treatment options, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician today. And remember: If you or someone you know is battling depression that doesn’t seem to be improving, or if you’re having thoughts of harming yourself or others, seek medical attention immediately.