Don’t Get SAD, Get Active!

Well, its that time of year again! The days get shorter, the weather gets a little colder, but that’s no reason to let it affect your emotional state! Remember that the weather and time, are things we can’t change or control. What we can change is our emotional state about it. Here are a few ideas to manage Seasonal Affective Disorder, which ironically has the acronym SAD:
1. Get out of the house! Any time you’re dealing with a disorder that causes some form of depression, its time to get out and get active! Exercise has been shown to increase endorphins and reduce stress.
2. When you have a day off, make the most of the daylight. Don’t let any part of the day go by where you can enjoy the sunlight without getting out there and enjoying it! 30 minutes a day is usually good, but 2 hours is ideal. When the sun goes down, you can still do a few things outside, or wind it down indoors.
3. Get some better lightbulbs in your home. Some studies show that Bright Light Treatment can affect and reduce depressive symptoms. Some can do this, and some can’t, based on cost, but I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t at least tell you about it. Some reasonable full spectrum lights are Ott Lights, but you’re better off getting them when they go on sale at Joanne’s, Michael’s, or A.C. Moore.
4. Find indoor and outdoor activities that help you enjoy the season. When Fall shows up, my wife loves to go check out the leaves, because every year, they look different (and we usually have pictures to prove this). So its something we enjoy doing during that time. We’ve been able to find indoor activities to enjoy, despite the colder weather, so SAD doesn’t affect us.

Ultimately, there are ways to manage your emotional state despite the change in weather and sunlight. If you’re in Florida or parts south of Massachusetts, I imagine this doesn’t really apply to you. Either way, remember that if something beyond your control is affecting your emotions, it might be best to find something in your control that you resolve the situation and make the best of it.