How To Get Through Winter When You Have Seasonal Affective Disorder

This is a great article with helpful suggestions from, Kimberly Hays of Public Health Info Alert:

Kimberly was kind enough to share her knowledge and information. Please go to her website for more information.

For sufferers of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), getting through the winter can be rough. The disorder — a seasonal depression that begins in late fall or early winter and can last until springtime — affects thousands of Americans and can cause loss of appetite, an inability to find joy in things they once loved, and even substance abuse. Doctors aren’t sure what causes SAD, but some believe it’s connected to the amount of light we get, which is dramatically decreased for most of us in winter.

Because SAD can have an effect on so many aspects of a sufferer’s life — physically, mentally, and emotionally — it’s important to take proactive steps to ensure that you can cope with those feelings once winter rolls around. There are several ways in which you can learn to feel better; the key is to be kind to yourself and get support from your friends and family members.

Here are some of the best ways to get started.

Get outside

Many researchers believe that getting outside can drastically improve your mood, so spend as much time outdoors as you can when the weather is nice. Take the kids out to play, walk the dog, and soak up the sunshine and light. Exercise can also be a mood-booster, so if you get active at the same time you’ll be helping yourself to a double-dose of good mental health.

Let the light in

It may be tempting to hang heavy curtains in winter to keep the cold at bay, but if you have large windows that get a lot of sunlight during the day, take them down and hang light-filtering curtains instead. Taking advantage of natural light will not only help you feel better, but it can save you some money on your utility bills, too.

Invest in a light box

Once winter is in full swing, the sun goes down early in many parts of the U.S., so investing in a light box can help you get a bit more light out of each day. Set it up in an area where you spend the most time, but make sure you talk to your doctor first about your needs and what type of box might be right for you.

Be kind to yourself

One of the best ways to ensure you’re feeling ready to take on the world when winter rolls around is to be kind to your body and mind. Getting daily exercise can help, but you also need to think about other ways to boost your mental health, such as practicing yoga or meditation and doing things you enjoy: hobbies, like making art or playing an instrument, or taking time to sit down and read a good book. For more tips, check out this helpful article.

Reduce stress

Keeping stress at bay can help you find solid footing even when you’re feeling a little low. You can do this by thinking of ways to prevent stress — such as getting organized or relaxing your schedule — and how to cope with it when it does occur. Finding healthy ways to deal with those feelings will keep you from engaging in negative methods such as substance abuse.

It can be difficult to get through the long months of winter without a good plan, so sit down with your loved ones and talk about the best ways you can keep yourself on track, as well as how they can help you. Having goals and a tool chest filled with ideas on how to help yourself feel better will go a long way toward getting you through the season.

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