09 Jan 2013

Does the cold winter season have you down? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many people are victims of Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD.  Studies have shown that millions of people suffer from SAD all over the world, of which 75% are women.  Women have proven to be more susceptible.  There are plenty of healthy things you can do to combat the winter blues, and we’ve got the tips to help you.

7 Tips to Help You Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder

1. Eat a Healthier Diet. Increasing the number of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins you eat will make you feel better and give you more energy. It will stop you from feeling as tired, and may even help you lose weight, too. Try to stay away from sugary foods, and those high in fat, salt, and simple carbohydrates. Avoid a lot of starchy foods, as this breaks down into sugar and can lead to weight gain.

2. Get Exposure to Bright Light. This light does not have to be from the sun, but the light should be at least 25 times more bright than the average household lighting. This can come in many forms, but is recommended for use at least half an hour a day. You might consider a “seasonal light box”, it is designed to bring this type of light therapy.  This makes the brain feel as though it is getting light from the outdoors, which will help reduce some of the depressive symptoms.

3. Exercise. Exercising at least half an hour a day, three days a week will not only keep you healthy, but it will provide more energy, to combat fatigue. It’ll get blood pumping and make you feel better. Do things you think are fun, so it’s less of a chore and more of something you can look forward to. All it takes is a brisk walk, or dancing around your house to your favorite music.

4. Socialize with Friends. Meet them in person as much as possible, but if inclement weather makes this impossible, at least talk on the phone when you can. Having other people to talk to will keep you from feeling as sad. Laughter has always been the best medicine for whatever ails you.

5. Get Outside Anyway. Soak up the sun when you can.  Put on your warm winter hat, scarf and mittens to head outside—go sledding, ice skating, or try skiing. It doesn’t really matter what you’re doing so long as you stay warm and try to make it outside for a little while each day.

6. Put Things You Love Around You. Keep pretty flowers, photos, music, candles, potpourri, and other nice things around you to look at. Listen to your favorite songs, and sing really loud to have fun. Do things that make you happy.

7. Start a Project. Do something you’ve been meaning to do for a while. It will distract you from the cold and you will feel better because you’re accomplishing something you’ve been trying to do for a while. This could be anything from cleaning out your closets and re-organizing everything, organizing photos, making a collage, scrapbooking, etc. The possibilities are nearly endless.

Any combination of these things, or all of them will help you combat seasonal affective disorder without medication. The important thing is to keep yourself occupied and enjoy the time you’re spending, rather than worrying about the winter.

Article found on momitforward.com, written by Lucinda Watrous

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