How to Cope With Seasonal Affective Disorder
People always talk about how many things there are to celebrate when the seasons change. Each new season brings different holidays and excuses to get loved ones together. Spending time with the people who are closest to you can make any day a good one, especially when the changing seasons can make people experience a difference in their everyday moods.
This change in moods doesn’t have anything to do with what might go on during your day. It’s better known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.
It may take a while to get a diagnosis, but once you know you have a name for what you’re feeling, there are easy ways to cope with it. Read on for tips you can try to push through this disorder so you don’t have to struggle during the holidays.
1. Get Lots of Sunshine
One of the most noticeable ways SAD starts altering how you feel is when daylight saving time ends. After everyone turns the clock back an hour in November, it gets much darker outside much earlier. Around 4 p.m., you might start to see the sunset. By 5 p.m., it’s often fully dark in many areas of the country.
As breathtaking as the stars can be, having less sunlight during the day does more than you think for your mood. When you get to see the sun and bask in it, the brain releases serotonin, the happiness hormone. It changes your mood, so having less of it will decrease your good vibes, regardless of how the rest of your day has gone.
While the sun is out, keep the blinds open and get as much of it as possible while it’s there.
2. Try to Exercise
Exercising helps beat SAD because it makes your brain release positive hormones. As you exercise — whether it’s cardio, weightlifting or anything else you might enjoy doing — your brain increases its output of endorphins, which naturally boost your mood.
The cold air might make you want to snuggle up in your favorite blanket, but try to get to the gym so you can see how exercise can help with your SAD.
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3. Read Inspirational Quotes
Reading inspirational quotes could be what you need to help curb negative thoughts and emotions. Start each day by reading something that encourages you, so you form a daily habit that reinforces positivity. Keep a few quotes where you can see them during the day, and at the end of your daily routine, read some more to remind yourself of what you’ve accomplished and where you succeed.
4. Cut Your Sugar Intake
The holidays give people plenty of ways to cheat on diets and eat foods you might not usually eat, but this year, you’ll have a new reason to skip the desserts. Sugar has been shown to make depression worse. It makes insulin-resistant fat cells in your brain swell, drops your blood sugar and triggers depression in people prone to SAD.
If you find yourself struggling with your mood in the winter, it’s not just you. Plenty of people have the same feelings, being more blue than usual and not knowing why. The reason is something not many people know about — Seasonal Affective Disorder.
As the days get darker earlier, don’t feel like you’re stuck in a negative mood. You can try getting more sunlight while it’s available, or experiment with a new exercise routine.
Even just reading positive inspirational quotes can give you what you need to fight SAD.
It may take a while to find what works for you, but don’t give up! SAD doesn’t have to be more than a minor pause in the joy that comes during the holiday season.
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Also published on Medium.