Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that normally occurs during the fall-winter months. If you’re like me and you’re get all down in the dumps once it starts getting cold and dark, you want to just crawl into your warm bed and stay there. Here are some natural self-care tips to boost your mood a little, and make it a little easier to get your day going.
Purchase a light box
I am actually going to be trying this method for the first time this year. The light from the light box mimics the light from outside that we do not get as much of during the winter, considering it’s dark when we go to sleep and, a lot of the times, dark when we wake up. This makes it difficult for your brains’ 24 hour cycle to get started, as it is usually started by the morning light. Within the hour you wake up in the morning, sit in front of the light box for 20-30 minutes and it will kickstart your brain and hopefully make you feel less down and sluggish throughout the day. I will keep you updated on how I feel this method works for me!
2. Make a happy playlist
Don’t underestimate the feel-good power of music. You all know how you feel when your favorite song comes on. So make yourself a playlist full of all your favorite mood-boosting songs and put it on as soon as you wake up in the morning. I’m a huge fan of country music. That stuff really lifts you up. Don’t knock it til’ you try it.
Exercise heals all. As much as my lazy self doesn’t want to hear it, it’s true. So as tough as it is, get yourself moving! Take a fitness class, use a youtube video, dance around in your dorm room. Your brain will thank you for getting all those endorphins flowing.
I know it’s cold. And if you’re anything like me, you’re ready to break out your winter jacket in October. But while it may be lacking, there actually still is sunlight during the winter! So bundle up, and go soak up some vitamin D. Even if it’s only for ten minutes or so, the fresh air and sunshine will treat your brain very kindly.
5. Talk to people
Don’t go into hibernation in the winter – and yes, that’s coming from the girl who would live in a blanket cocoon if it was socially acceptable. Make your family and friends aware of how you’re feeling. It helps to have people to make sure you don’t sink too much. You are never alone. Spend time with the people that make you happy. Laughter really is the best medicine.
6. Find one thing every day to look forward to
It’s all about the little things. Make plans with friends. Take yourself out on a date. Take your dog for a walk. Plan to watch your favorite show or movie. At the end of the day, write down one thing that made you happy that day. Even if it was just that there was no traffic on you way to school/work or you saw a cute animal. Remember the power of the little things and use it to your advantage.
Reminder: Don’t beat yourself up. For those of you who regularly deal with seasonal depression, this yearly relapse feels like a failure. It’s not. Recovery is not linear. You are allowed to have bad days. Just remember that you have the power to turn those bad days into new days, instead of allowing those bad days to turn into bad weeks, months, etc.