Winter is here! You know what that means, right? No, I am not in any way implying anything related to the Game of Thrones. Sorry, to disappoint but it is the time for “SAD”. Not our unusual kind of SAD, but a sadness caused by the season. Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is best understood as depression caused by changes in sunlight. The disorder affects a lot of individuals every year, especially in fall. This makes winter the most vulnerable time for individuals, making it necessary to make certain changes. I will help you in dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder even before it hits you, as after all prevention is better than cure.
Before moving to the ways to prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder, let us find out what it looks like. Similar to regular depression, a person affected with SAD shows the following symptoms:
Sleep changes - Insomnia or hypersomnia
Fatigue and low energy level
Loss of interest in entertainment and socializing
Experiencing worthlessness and hopelessness
Changes in Appetite
If you think any of the symptoms are felt by you in winters, or you wish to be extra cautious this year due to a lot of time at home. Make sure to read and adopt the following ways to deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder.
1. Let there be Light
As SAD is caused due to changes in sunlight, it is a no brainer to start getting light to prevent it. Not just prevention, sunlight can even help in curing Seasonal Affective Disorder. So, make it a point to get sunlight every day without fail to start now. Make it a habit to go for a walk, read outside or any activity you wish to do in the sun. If you live in an area that does not get enough sunlight, take help of artificial sources of light. You can get a lightbox and compensate for all the natural light you are missing out on.
2. Don’t stop, Run!
I know it is hard to stay active in winter, but it is worth it. Afterall it is better to be active and happy than to be lazy and miserable. Being active and exercising releases serotonin which makes you happy preventing the chance of developing Seasonal Affective Disorder. It would be a better decision to start exercising right now, instead of waiting for excruciating winters. Building a habit of exercising won’t only prevent SAD, but make sure that you are ready with your summer body, before summer.
3. Don’t Cut Off from people
Everyone likes to stay in during summer and mind their own business unless it’s the new year. It is fine to want to stay inside your warm houses sipping hot beverages. Unless you don’t make it an excuse to avoid humans all around. Social energy releases serotonin, which is necessary for the body, especially when winter is producing melatonin. So, don’t stop talking to your friends and family no matter. Believe me, I did that once and it wasn’t pretty. Prevent depression caused by season by merely not losing contact with your loved ones. You need them now and they need you.
4. Eat a happy meal
I do not mean McDonald's, please don’t eat McD, it is not what I meant by a happy meal. What I mean is food items that are rich in serotonin. Some happy foods are eggs, pineapple, oats, spinach, milk, soy items, whole grain bread, brown rice and cheese. You can also incorporate food rich in OMEGA-3 into your diet to make the happiest meal of them all. This includes fish, walnuts and flaxseeds. Some food items help you sleep better, as you know how SAD affects sleep. The sleep-inducing food items involve apple, pumpkin, mushroom, broccoli and figs. I am certain that you’ll find lots of tasty dishes that incorporate these items and if you don’t then do what I do, a normal meal followed by a great dessert (usually unhealthy).
5. Don’t Stress unless there is something to stress about
Easier said than done right, but if you look back to your life. Most of the instances of your stressing were based on your overthinking more than the actual situation. So, avoid overthinking during these months by making a self-care routine. No, you don’t need to do skincare but anything and everything you love. Just, make a list of all the things you love doing and try to do at least one of them each day. Not only will this make you happy, but might bring you closer to yourself. Other than this you can also try mediation and if you need help with it check out ‘How to meditate without meditating’.
So, that was all the things you need to know and follow to prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder. I hope you not only beat SAD but also fall in love with these activities, as you can see they are pretty healthy. Lastly, I wish you a fun winter, without any SADness.