I often struggle with depression and a worsening anxiety at this time of year. Though it doesn’t totally knock me out, it’s still there, waiting for me to get unwell or have a meltdown. Summer is my favourite time of the year, with the sunshine, beaches, swimming and generally being outdoors.
But when it gets darker earlier, my ability to keep going in the evenings, and enjoy the mornings, goes out the window. I decided I needed to protect myself from the winter blues. And, perhaps, so do you.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that impacts millions of people each year. It generally kicks in as the hours of daylight get shorter and can last till early spring. Apparently, 60-90% of folks with SAD are women. Guys certainly aren’t immune though!
Take vitamin D
In addition to many cancers, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, a vitamin D deficiency is also linked to depression. So if you’re feeling SAD, now is a good time to get your D levels tested. I also take magnesium every morning, as this has also shown signs in early testing to help reduce anxiety, by balancing hormone levels.
Exercise not only improves our mood but it also reduces anxiety and stress, both of which can worsen depression. Take a yoga class, get a PT or do a dance in your PJs! Do it for at least 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week.
Purchase a Lumie light
One of the best thing that helps me is light therapy. It involves you sitting in front of a light box, from a brand like Lumie, that emits full-spectrum light similar in composition to sunlight. It’s been shown to be very effective for helping people with Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Exposure to outdoor light is still important so try to get outside daily for at least 10 minutes per day, or more if you can! It may be dull and cloudy but the sun is still there, and feeding you its rays!
Nothing beats SAD more than meeting friends and having a good laugh together. Being cooped up can often only make you feel worse. Or book a winter holiday and really get some Vitamin D.
Stick to a consistent sleep schedule, don’t under sleep and don’t over-sleep. It’s super important to get your 8 hours sleep a night, in order to maintain a good mentality, and focus throughout your days.
What tricks and tips do you have for conquering seasonal affective disorder? Let me know in the comments!