We’re firmly entrenched in the dog days of winter, and the season may have sucked every ounce of energy from you. But only you can bring it back.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a form of depression brought on by short days and grey skies. This year it can be easily exacerbated by the pandemic.
Stress, anxiety, and sadness can make it challenging to muster up any energy or enthusiasm whatsoever, and lead to overeating and social isolation. But help may be closer and more accessible than you think.
For some, increasing light exposure may help boost energy and relieve depressive symptoms.
Getting as much sunlight as possible, even through a window, has been shown to help people with SAD. So, when you wake up each day, open curtains and blinds to let natural light flood in. Even if it’s a cloudy day, the natural light can help.
Sit near the windows as much as possible to get direct exposure. Do your best to bundle up and get outside for a walk each day, as both the light and the movement can lead to increased energy.
If more light is required, you can try a lightbox. These are specially designed lights that emit a soft, steady light and effectively treat SAD.
Other things you can do to help cope with dark, short days of the season include:
- Finding ways to boost physical activity. Dancing at home, walks, snowshoeing, etc., can all help improve energy levels.
- Set a consistent schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day and get into a routine.
- Ensure you’re getting adequate nutrition each day to keep your energy up.
- Dedicate time each day to relax and do things you enjoy.
- Talk to friends and family to stay socially connected. Try booking virtual chats/phone calls in advance, so you have something to look forward to,