Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is real! Shorter days filled with less sunlight and colder weather don’t necessarily set us up for success. But the best way to combat seasonal depression is to get out of the funk before you’re buried too deep. What should you do? Check out the below!
Light From a Box
SAD is often perpetuated by your circadian rhythm being off track. Exposing yourself to artificial light can help by “tricking” your body into thinking it’s getting ample sunlight. Light therapy boxes mimic sunlight, meaning they are much brighter than regular light bulbs (but not to the point they blind you). Plus, you can set the wavelength to the one you prefer. Try this for 20-30 minutes a day, and your SAD symptoms may dwindle.
Before you nix it, give a winter vacation some thought. A mid-winter getaway can help boost your endorphin levels, giving you a much-needed break from the colder, darker months. Just make sure your vacay is somewhere that has sun – and lots of it.
It may be obvious, but going outside can drastically improve SAD symptoms! A 15-minute break – even if it’s just to the front steps of your office – can help. A short daily walk around the block can also be effective. On the weekends, try to spend some extended time in the fresh air.
Take a Vitamin D Supplement
When our bodies lack vitamin D from the sun, we can get pretty down on ourselves. Over-the-counter vitamin D supplements could work, but if they are not doing the trick, it may be time to call your physician. A higher-concentrated version of the vitamin may be needed.
Instead of an alarm that wakes you up suddenly with loud noises, find one that produces light, mimicking the rising sun. Though dawn simulators aren’t 100% proven, they are still suggested for those experiencing SAD. Several models exist, but full-spectrum options are the closest to natural light.