I don’t know about you, but I’ve certainly noticed the days getting longer in recent weeks. The sun is still visible in the evening, which offers a sense of comfort that winter is coming to a close.
The longer days and relatively sunny winter, however, may not be lifting your spirits. If not, it could be because of SAD.
You may have been surprised, a few weeks ago, to learn that the winter months can bring on depression in some people. This annual drop in mood, you may remember, is called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. It typically coincides with the colder, darker, winter months.
It’s highly recommended that you seek treatment if suffering from SAD. Simply trying to “wait it out” until temperatures warm and days become longer brighter can simply cost too much time, physical and mental wellbeing, joy, and even relationships.
Here are some of the ways you might be able to get a handle on SAD symptoms.
Light Therapy: Light therapy can be an effective treatment for SAD. It works by replicating sunlight, offering exposure to 10,000 LUX of light through a lightbox. Patients are typically instructed to sit 16-24 inches away from the box for 20-30 minutes per day.
Talk to your doctor before getting one, and know that they are not typically covered by insurance.
Talk Therapy: People with SAD tend to avoid social activities and other things they enjoy during the winter – things that would likely make them feel better. Talk therapy with a counsellor can help patients develop better coping skills and help people with SAD change negative thought patterns, which may lead to increases in social activity and a sense of enjoyment.
As the days get longer and it turns to spring, many with SAD will see their symptoms ease. But that doesn’t mean they won’t be back next fall.
Next year, try firing up your lightbox on Halloween, or when you set the clock back in November. It might help you have a better winter!