How to Overcome Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects millions of people during the long months of winter. Between fewer daylight hours and dreary weather, these patients often find themselves feeling sad, depressed and tired. Scientists suspect that the change in the weather and the length of days alters the body’s natural circadian rhythm. The longer nights can also cause the body to adjust the amount of melatonin it produces, which is a hormone that affects how we react to light. Fortunately, there are things you can do to combat the negative effects of long winter days so that you can continue to be happy no matter what the weather may be.

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Spend Time in a Warmer Climate

You don’t have to relocate completely in order to overcome the effects of SAD. By taking a short vacation to a warmer climate, you can enjoy longer days of sunshine and higher temperatures so that your body can return to its normal rhythm. The amount of time you will need to spend in a different location will depend on your personal reaction to the weather and the extent of your depression.

Take Advantage of Light Therapy

It is not always possible to enjoy time away from home in the middle of winter, but that doesn’t mean that you are doomed to feel the winter blues. You can use light therapy to mimic the effects of natural sunlight on the body, which will help boost your spirits and eliminate the symptoms of SAD. You will need to purchase a special light that uses a 10,000 Lux bulb, and you will need to be near the light for about 30 minutes every morning. The strength of the bulb is similar to the UV rays of the sun, and you should try to stay within 18 inches of the light to reap the full benefits. You may also want to keep your eyes open during your time in the artificial light so that your body believes that winter is almost over.

Take Medicine

If your attempts to dispel SAD have not been effective, then you may need to talk to your doctor about taking medicine. He will be able to analyze your symptoms and your lifestyle to determine if medication is the best option to help you feel better.

Get Moving and Eat Well

The body tends to slow down naturally during the winter months in order to conserve energy, which is one reason why you feel sluggish and depressed. You can rev yourself back up by spending some time exercising each day. You should also continue to eat a healthy diet so that your body can produce the hormones it needs to combat SAD.

You don’t need to suffer from SAD all winter long. By taking these steps, you can alleviate your depression and start enjoying life during this cold and dark time of the year.

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