Seasonal Affective Disorder
Schneck Medical Center - February 17, 2021

3 Ways to Cope with Seasonal Affective Disorder

Whether we like it or not, winter impacts us all. Storms can delay our travel plans, colds and illnesses can keep us apart, and shorter days can make us feel like hibernating. So it’s no wonder that the season can also affect our mood.
 
There’s a reason for that: seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons. Both fall- and spring-onset SAD can affect adults, but the former is much more common. The National Institute of Mental Health says that fall-onset SAD can be characterized by oversleeping, social withdrawal, and overeating, as well as other symptoms typical of depression.
 
If you or someone you know is experiencing seasonal affective disorder, these three tips can help you cope.

1. Get some sun

Yes, getting outside can be difficult—particularly because it’s cold and you have fewer daylight hours to get out. But sunlight can drastically improve your mood, even when you’re inside. Open your curtains, trim back nearby branches, and do what you can to let in more natural light.
 
When you can’t get natural light, there’s also light therapy. This potential SAD treatment uses a special light box to mimic natural light, and can trigger the chemicals in your brain that are linked to mood.
 

2. Get moving

Getting your blood flowing is a great way to combat feelings of sadness and depression. This could be through exercise, socializing, or a hobby—whatever it takes to get you up and moving! Regular involvement with people and things you enjoy is good for the mind and body, and it’s a crucial step toward keeping your spirits up during the winter.

3. Get help

If your SAD symptoms persist, it’s time to reach out. Depression—in any form—is a serious but common condition that can be aided by treatment and medication, depending on what you need. The mental health experts at Schneck Medical Center are here for you, no matter the season.
 
Talk to your doctor today and let us know what we can do for you.