When the seasons change you have to be ready for a change in mood, especially as we move from fall into winter. Although it may not seem as drastic of a shift as you think, it matters more to our mental and physical states than you may know. Seasonal affective disorder is estimated to affect around 10 million Americans a year, and this isn’t even the full number of reported cases.
As we begin to lose the summer sun and transition into the darker months of the year, depression and fatigue seem to make that transition with us. But, there are ways to shake off the impending gloom and brighten your day, if you follow some of these steps you can combat seasonal affective disorder and find yourself being just as happy as you are in the warm summer months.
Try light therapy. Doctors have called this idea phase shifting. Because we lose sunlight so quickly as we head into the winter, you should start setting out bright lights when beginning your day. By eating breakfast and starting your daily routine under bright indoor lights, you get used to not having sunlight and can better acclimate to your new surroundings.
Exercise. Exercise. Exercise. Regular exercise works wonder for depression in general, so why would it not work for SAD-induced depression? By maintaining regular exercise habits you can work to get rid of the fatigue, depression and tiredness by adding at least 60 minutes a day of activity into your life.
These next two ideas go hand in hand, as both work together to not only combat SAD, but promote a healthy lifestyle. Maintain a heart-healthy diet and get plenty of sleep. No brainers? Maybe. But, you would be surprised at the amount of people who do not follow both or one of these guidelines, I’m sure you know someone who fits into those categories. Make sure to maintain a regular sleep schedule while keeping up with a heart-healthy diet in order to fight seasonal affective disorder.
Last, but not least, try acupuncture! Acupuncture is a great solution to combating SAD. There are various points on the body that have been known to alleviate symptoms of SAD. A primary point that should be addressed when treating SAD is Yintang, and when being treated for SAD by an acupuncturist you should be seen between one to two times a week.
Try some of these techniques and you should have no problem battling and conquering the seasonal affective disorder that may be bothering you this winter.
Dr. Igor Bril