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Tips for Coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Tips for Coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder

Tips for Coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder

It’s that time of year again. The time of year when I start to feel S.A.D. As the leaves fall, the sun begins to set earlier and the air begins to change. Seasonal Affective Disorder or S.A.D. is a disorder that affects people during this time of year.  This disorder is thought to be caused shorter periods of sunlight which increases melatonin and in turn disrupts regular sleep cycles (SOURCE). S.A.D. is a form of depression and can cause fatigue, sadness, lack of interest, irritability, and other symptoms similar to depression with the key characteristic being that Seasonal Affective Disorder improves as the daylight hours get longer in the spring.

When this time of year hits, I start feeling exhausted and have those unexplained feelings of sadness that can creep in. Through the years of living in New Hampshire and dealing with S.A.D. I have picked up some important strategies for coping with this disorder. It is important to monitor and manage S.A.D. to ensure good health and wellness during the long winter months.

Here are some ways to cope with S.A.D.

  • Light therapy. Portable light boxes and dawn simulators provide your body with wavelengths of light that you miss out on during days with shorter daylight.
  • Soak up the natural light! No matter what the weather is like I always try to get outside at least for a little bit to take advantage of the benefits of the Vitamin D that your body absorbs from the sun.
  • Stay active. Keeping my body moving through exercise to get the natural rush of endorphins can be a mood booster
  • Laugh More! Playing with my kids and giggling or laughing with friends provides a natural boost of serotonin to create greater feelings of positivity.
  • Add more lean proteins such as fish into your diet. Fish contains higher levels of Omega-3’s which can give your more energy.
  • Keep your sugar intake low so as not to create sugar highs and lows.

I hope that you are not S.A.D. too but if you are struggling with this like I do I hope these tips have helped you.

*disclaimer: I am not a medial doctor. Please consult with a physician if you are struggling with depression and in need of help.

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21 responses

21 responses

  1. Well, we’re moving from sunny SoCal to Oregon – I grew up there but my husband has never lived there. I definitely want to be proactive about preventing this or at least minimizing it. Have you read any research about vitamin D supplements?
    Running Hutch recently posted…Lake Hodges 15k Mini RecapMy Profile

  2. I used to suffer from this greatly when I was younger. I think for me understanding why I was so sad all winter was the biggest help. As a teenager I got up for school in the dark and because of after school activities I came home in the dark and I was inside almost all of the day. I agree that getting some sun each day is vital. Thanks for sharing your story.
    Stephanie recently posted…Five Fall Fat Burning TipsMy Profile

  3. Great post. I honestly get this in teh winter here in CA. It is sunny (blue skies and sunshine) the majority of the year… but come winter it is grey skies and rain. BOO. I always get in a funk 🙁 Thank goodness for Vitamin D 🙂
    Rachel recently posted…Running in Mizuno WaveRider 18My Profile

  4. Great tips. I find the long winters here are very hard to get through. By the end of February, I’m really feeling the effects of the season. I’ve heard we are going to have another brutal winter this year too. Boo hiss.
    Stephanie recently posted…From zero to running in 8 weeksMy Profile

  5. This time of year is so tough. I actually think the winters in NH aren’t too bad. Where I grew up in Michigan, it was soooooo cold and always gray. The sun NEVER came out all winter. Now that definitely had me sad.
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted…Every Runner Has a StoryMy Profile

    1. I get up at four all winter long too….little bit harder that running when the sun comes up at 5 in the summer….but definitely doable!
      cheryl recently posted…The RunMy Profile

  6. As long as we don’t get too many rainy days in a row, I do ok in the winter. (I actually struggle a lot in the summer because I hate going out in the heat.) I guess that’s the bonus of living in Virginia – winter isn’t too bad.
    MCM Mama recently posted…Dairy and wheat free WIAWMy Profile

  7. I’ve been struggling with SAD for years. I think my situation will probably get better if I moved. I practically hibernate all winter – no running, going out, and feel fatigued all the time. Signing up for races has definitely helped me since I’m forced to train. While I tend to run more indoors, it helps my mood tremendously! Also, eating clean helps.

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