It’s fall which means winter and the cold season is just around the corner. With the changing of the seasons comes an uptick in depressive symptoms. This is true for people living with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a mood disorder that displays symptoms most commonly in the winter months. Fortunately, there are things people living with this disorder can do, known as Seasonal Affective Disorder self care, that can help to manage symptoms. And, get them through the season! Check out some of these tips and prepare yourself for the winter months ahead.
People who experience symptoms of depression only during certain times of the year may be experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder. Typically, it affects people during the colder, winter months. But, it can sometimes be identified in people who struggle with depressive disorders during other times of the year. If you experience depression symptoms (feelings of hopelessness, sleep issues, etc.) only during certain times of the year, you may be dealing with SAD. Fortunately, Seasonal Affective Disorder only displays symptoms seasonally. And, there are a few things people who suffer from this disorder can do to help manage symptoms.
One of the best things people who are living with mood disorders, including Seasonal Affective Disorder, can do is to increase physical activity. Exercising is known to improve mood-related symptoms of mental health issues. This is because it increases the endorphins released throughout the body, which are known to help manage mood and reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. So, make sure to up the physical activity you do when gearing up for the winter months to manage symptoms of SAD.
One of the reasons that SAD is most common during the winter months is that there is less sunlight. Vitamin D, a vitamin produced by the sun, is essential for the brain’s successful creation and maintenance of the ‘happy chemical’ that is responsible for mood regulation (serotonin). And, since winter days are shorter, that means there is less sunlight. So, it’s important to rack up your vitamin D while you can in the months before winter. Plus, take daily vitamin D supplements during the winter months to help with serotonin creation and maintenance.
Another way to combat the symptoms of seasonal depression is to create a routine and stick to it. When you do this, you give yourself a reason to get up out of bed and make a day of each day you have. This helps you to stay productive and maintain the energy levels needed to combat feelings of isolation and sadness that are frequently related to Seasonal Affective Disorder. Start by waking up and going to sleep every day at a specific time. And, making time to do the things you need to do to stay focused including going grocery shopping, cooking healthy meals, working out, and socializing.
Finally, the best thing people living with Seasonal Affective Disorder can do is reach out for professional help when they need it. Seasonal Affective Disorder self care tips may not be the only thing you need to overcome symptoms…and that’s ok! You don’t have to suffer alone. And, therapy can help to give you the tools you need to manage and overcome symptoms of depressive disorders, including SAD.
Delray Center for Healing is an outpatient mental health facility in South Florida that helps people dealing with various mental health issues, including depressive disorders like SAD. Learn more about our available services and reach out to us for more information about how we can help.