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Between 4% and 6% of the population suffers from a type of depression known as SAD or seasonal affect disorder. The most common type of this disorder is known as winter onset SAD. It is believed that the trigger for this type of depression may be the changing of the seasons especially as people who live in climates where there is less sunlight and harsh winters seem to be affected the most.
Those suffering from SAD may have mild symptoms such as feeling more fatigued, irritable, and restless during the winter months, while those with a more severe case may actually suffer from acute depression and even thoughts of suicide. In most cases winter onset SAD starts to improve as the winter winds down and there are longer periods of sunlight with all symptoms disappearing during the summer months. However, coping with SAD can be difficult even for those who suffer from the mildest of symptoms. Here are some things that you can do to help cope with this condition.
Seek A Doctors Advice
The first thing you should do is to seek your doctor’s advice and get a complete physical to rule out any illness that may actually be causing your symptoms. You also may need to seek the advice of a mental health professional if your symptoms are severe. If you are diagnosed with a mild case of SAD there are some things you can do, to help relieve some of the symptoms of this condition and reduce the impact it has on your life.
Tips For Coping With A Mild Case Of SAD
- Take advantage of the daylight hours and the sun. Since there are fewer hours of sunlight you need to take as much advantage of the sun as possible. Try to spend some time out of doors every single day around mid-day when the sun is at its brightest. Even on overcast days a certain amount of sunlight makes it way through the clouds allowing you to soak up some of those mood lifting rays. In addition, keep your curtains open during the daylight hours and even turn on the lights in your home. Relieving some of the darkness may help to boost your mood.
- Eat healthy and exercise. Eating healthy during this time can help to elevate your mood and fight depression. Eating those foods that help to reduce depression each day may make a huge difference in how you are feeling. Exercise is also important as getting exercise can help renew energy levels and also releases chemicals in the body that reduce stress and make you feel good.
- Socialize. When people feel down and blue they usually don’t feel like socializing, however by forcing yourself to spend time with other people you can usually step outside yourself for a few hours and focus on things other than feeling down. In addition, spending some time with good friends may give you a shoulder to cry on or someone to share a laugh with. It also helps relieve any feelings of loneliness that often accompany this condition.
- Add Omega 3 fatty acids to your diet. Adding omega 3 fish oil to your diet can help to elevate serotonin levels in your brain. Serotonin is a feel good chemical that helps to lighten your mood and fight depression.
- Volunteer. As strange as it may sound volunteering and helping someone who is worse off than you can really help to boost your mood and give you a more positive outlook. It makes you feel grateful for your own situation and places those feelings you are having in a different light.
Suffering from SAD is not fun, however pushing yourself to do things that will help lighten your mood can make coping with this condition bearable.