Seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), can shift your mood and make you feel depressed, especially for those who already experience depression through the year. With the winter months ahead, it can be hard to combat these feelings.
Here are three ways to address seasonal depression, whether at home or in the office, and come out on top of the winter blues.
- Get outside, and in the light. According to SAD experts, seasonal depression is a real disorder that is largely affected by the change in the day and night cycle. With the days growing shorter, it is harder for people to get the benefits of the sun, especially if they are working indoors during the hours the sun is out. To improve this, it's important to get out more and take advantage of sun exposure. For indoor employees, opening up the blinds at the desk, or taking a walk during the lunch period, can help maintain better exposure during the day. And on those off days, spending more time outdoors in the sun with long walks or hikes when weather permits can help regulate mood and depression.
- Look into light therapy with a doctor, when you start experiencing SAD. Light therapy can be a healthy alternative for people experiencing SAD, especially if it's harder to get outside. However, it's important to check with your doctor, and find lights and lamps specifically made for SAD, since there can be different side effects to the exposure.
- Avoid hibernation. It's easy to shun the outdoors and outside and instead curl up at home and away from social interaction. But staying in can actually increase feelings of depression, and make it even harder to find emotional balance and happiness. Instead, make it a goal to get up and out regularly, take up a yoga or jazzercise class, make a weekly date with a friend for coffee or drinks, or invite friends over for craft nights or movie nights regularly. Simply having someone over for dinner, even if it's take out, can do wonders on your mood, and you'll have a support buddy through the winter blues.
By taking steps that give you more exposure to light and ramp up your social interactions, you can beat the winter blues away. For more information on this and related topics, visit the Behavioral or Mental Health sections of our blog.
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