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Beat the winter blues: conquering seasonal affective disorder

Discover ways to overcome seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in this comprehensive guide., the blog provides practical strategies. Don't let the winter blues get you down—explore these effective coping methods and consult a professional for personalized advice.

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Apco Medicare

6 min read

91 days ago

Beat the winter blues: conquering seasonal affective disorder

When daylight saving time ends, you gain an extra hour of sleep but lose something precious: sunlight. As daylight slips into darkness earlier,

Millions of indian’s slump into a type of depression known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD — though some may not realise they have it. Other individuals may experience “winter blues,” a milder form of seasonal depression. National Institute of Mental Health. Seasonal affective disorder.

Obviously, you can’t control seasonal changes, but hibernating during the fall and winter is not the solution. “If you wake up and you want to pull the covers over your eyes, that’s the worst thing to do. It’s essential to cope effectively with this condition.

Read on to learn about some tried-and-true treatment methods, plus a few strategies that may be worth giving a whirl if you have seasonal affective disorder.

Embrace Light Therapy

Start your day with 20–60 minutes of bright light exposure, which has proven mood-elevating benefits. Light therapy compensates for the reduced natural light during colder, darker months. “When light hits the retina of the eye, it’s converted into nerve impulses that pass back to specialized regions of the brain that are involved in emotional regulation,”

Soak in Sunlight

Combat SAD by soaking in sunlight on bright fall or winter days. Natural light positively affects serotonin levels, lifting your mood. Bundle up and embrace nature’s brilliance.

“You’re getting a lot of light coming into the eyes that way,”

Stay Active

Incorporate regular exercise into your routine to boost neurotransmitters like dopamine. Combining exercise with light therapy can enhance the benefits.

You might even consider combining two treatments in one by exercising while getting light therapy. “That could be a brisk walk on a sunny day or the exer-cycle in front of a light box,

Consider Antidepressants

Prescription medications like SSRIs or bupropion can help manage seasonal depression. However, they come with potential side effects, so consult a healthcare professional.

Researchers noted that extended-release bupropion taken early in the fall before seasonal depression set in reduced the recurrence of depressive symptoms in SAD patients compared with a placebo in three studies.

Explore Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is effective in replacing negative thoughts with positive actions. Recognize that SAD is not a personal deficit but a response to seasons and light. “It’s part of your genetic makeup and your response to the seasons and light, so you don’t have to blame yourself.” The behavioural part is taking time for yourself to do something you enjoy, like practising yoga or grabbing lunch with a friend.

Mind Your Diet

Be mindful of your food choices. Opt for a diet rich in vegetables, nuts, and eggs, as it may reduce the risk of depression compared to consuming sweets and fast food.

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Researchers found that having a diet with foods such as sweets, sugars, and fast food was associated with an increased risk of depression. Conversely, eating patterns that included foods such as vegetables, nuts, and eggs were connected to reduced depression risk.

Manage Stress

Stress exacerbates SAD symptoms. Lighten your load, adopt stress management techniques like meditation, and schedule major projects for the sunnier months. “Let’s say you’re used to making a big Christmas, and it’s so stressful. Well, take everybody to a restaurant and decide to have your big party in the spring or summer,”

Plan a Winter Vacation

If possible, take a warm winter vacation to interrupt the worst stretch of winter. A change of venue can help prevent SAD symptoms.

Remember, if you’re unsure where to start, consult a healthcare provider or mental health professional to determine the best coping methods for you.