I've never been a huge fan in "labeling" human emotional responses to our environment as "disorders", especially in the case of Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD) because it is something we ALL go through to one extent or another.
Sure, it hits some of us more than others, and in some years it seems worse than others…but often this has more to do with a variety of factors including your mental state heading into the Winter Season, your state of health, how busy you are (and how much time you have to notice and think about the season, etc…)
That said, many of us are missing a step at this time of year as the tri-fecta of low sunlight, gloomier weather and cold tend to throw off everything from energy and sleep patterns to diet and exercise regimes.
What Can You Do To Control Seasonal Affective Disorder?
1. Staying Busy
What makes SAD even worse? When you are not busy and have too much time to notice the short days, colder and darker weather it becomes a fixation, something that seems to take over every aspect of your life. December-February are some of the worst months for SAD, what can you do to help offset the feelings of desperation of depression?
– Read a new book
– Start a blog about your life, family or something you enjoy writing about
– Start (or increase) meditation sessions. Not only will this keep you busy, it has the added benefit of improving your overall mindset and helping to mediate the stress brought on by SAD
– Start a new hobby
– Personal improvement, learn a new skill, language or technique
Nothing beats the role of exercise in combating Seasonal Defective Disorder. Try and get exercise in morning and evening each day. Combine activities such as walking with instructional classes on exercise and yoga. Try joining a team such as aquatics, hockey, basketball, tennis, indoor soccer, etc… to help overcome SAD. Consider any activity that keeps you moving, even housecleaning, cooking, walking your stairs, delivering flyers, etc…as each one of these helps develop useful adrenaline in your body and makes your brain (and body) happier
Quite simply, get as much light as you can. Take advantage of the 8AM-4PM timeframe when most of us have access to natural light. Get outside or plant yourself by a large windown in your home to soak up as much light as you can. In the summer months you don't have to think about it, in the Winter you want to give some conscious planning to take advantage of the hours of light we do have. Also, consider using a light therapy tool like this one we have had good results with – Light Therapy Unit – These units have incredible benefits on sleep patterns as well as reducing SAD symptoms and they have come down considerably in price (almost half of what they sold for last year when we picked ours up)
4. Vitamin D, St John's Wort
It is important to keep our nutritional and chemical levels balanced in the Winter Season, fortunately there are a couple of low-cost supplements that can help reduce or eliminate the symptoms of SAD altogether…
Vitamin D has been shown to produce various significant health benefits including immune boosting (so we fight colds and flu viruses), healthy skin and bones, prevention of certain forms of cancers and for symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Vitamin D comes in various forms, we have found the most effective (and economical) is these simple drops – Optimal Vitamin D that you take once each day during the Winter. One bottle lasts for more than 900 doses, more than enough for 3 Seasons.
St. John's Wort is another supplement that helps balance our mood preventing the extreme "Winter Blues" that are brought on by Season Affective Disorder. You can get St. John's Wort online from Amazon here , again this is a very inexpensive supplement that can go a long way to helping manage SAD symptoms so you can get on with your day and stay happy and productive.
Season Affective Disorder can be a crippling condition that grips us all over the Winter months, fortunately using these 4 methods you now have the control to battle, manage and overcome the condition that prevents us from enjoying 3-4 months each year.