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Ways To Treat Seasonal Affective Disorder

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Utah chapter.

Fall and winter are seasons that should bring beautiful scenery, warm desserts, and joy. However, many individuals experience melancholy and sorrow from the fall/winter season. Seasonal Affective Disorder is depression that is expressed in a seasonal pattern and effects many young individuals, most commonly women.  Though causes are not exact, many contribute the disorder to less light and colder weather. Additionally, it may impact serotonin, melatonin, and circadian levels causing imbalance and effecting the individual. Symptoms can range from each individual and are as follows but not limited to: increased appetite with weight gain, withdraw into solitude, lethargy or feeling of extreme tiredness, unusual sleep pattern (usually increase), leaden feeling in arms and legs, and feelings of nervousness, irritable, anxiety, and inability to concentrate. Though this disorder it contributed to the season, it still can have effect on the individual for future depression. This is a disorder that should not control your life or your seasonal traditions. There are resources and treatments that are there to assist you! So please take advantage.

1. Light Therapy

Light Therapy is also known as phototherapy and is very useful for treating SADs. It is to stimulate natural light by having the individual sit in front a florescent lamp for a certain amount of time. You can go to an office with a specialized room or even buy your own light for your home.

2 .Exercise, Natural Light

Exercise does wonders for our bodies and it can be fun without realizing it! In treating SADs it is recommend to get as much exercise as possible. Not only does it help the body boost endorphin levels but it also lets individuals get as much natural light as possible. If weather permits try to exercise outside, however, if not do yoga, Zumba, , bicycling, or other gym classes to get your heart rate up and your endorphin levels soring.   

3. Talk Therapy

Talk therapy is just how it sounds, you talk to someone about what your thoughts and feelings are because of the disorder. In addition, it can correlate with light therapy so you may get both advantages. There are variety of talk therapies such as group talks or one on one conversing. Hence, pick the one that you feel will be most helpful and even interesting because in the end it’s for you.

4. Natural Oils

Oils have been impactful for assisting with common conditions without having many side effects like medication does. Therefore, if your one of those individuals who loves to be surrounded in aroma and live on the more natural side, or if you just want to try them because they smell good.  These are some of the basic oils that might help bring natural balance:

  • Basil
  • Bergamot
  • Cardamom
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon
  • Litsea Cubeba
  • Orange Sweet
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Spearmint
  • For more info: Aromatherapy Lifestyle

5.  Balanced Diet

Yes! A healthy diet can also help in treating SADs. Commonly it is beneficial to eat many fruits, dark chocolates, vegetables, fish or poultry, tea and healthy carbs. It is also recommend that you take it easy on the alcohol if possible (because it is a depressant), minimize as much as you can. Additionally, try your best to at least fit breakfast, lunch, and dinner in with at least two snacks in between. Not only will you help keep you in a better mood (so no one comes and gives you a snickers at a random time) but it will also help stabilize your energy.

6. Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini yoga, is Yoga that focuses more on meditation and the 8 chakras of a human being. Any yoga can be effective in treating SADs however, Kundalini focuses more on the internal process that leads to the external. So while you get wonderful leg, arm, and abe muscles, you’ll learn technique to apply to yourself for certain feelings.  

7. Vacation

When there is cold and dreariness around you… plan a trip! It can be an inexpensive trip to a national park like Zion or California, both mostly sunny and beautiful. Or a warm tropical climate such the Bahamas or the Caribbean. This treatment helps with SAD’s because of the environment you surrounded yourself in. It is also beneficial just because it wonderful to travel!

8. Personal Delights (baths, reading, TV marathons)

Sometimes you just need to take a break and do something that makes you happy. Treating this disorder can be simple because the way you think and feel can either assist in increasing or decreasing it. Personal delights can be the simplest thing such as reading, a relaxing bath (or shower), giving a hug to your dog or cat (or reptile, I suppose),  or even watching TV marathon on Netflix. The more simple happiness you let yourself have the more it can assist you in disorders such as SADs.    

9. Family & Friends

Family and friends can either be our biggest hair pullers  or quite possibly the biggest support system we have. One of the most influential and impactful gestures is a hug in a time of need. If you feel that maybe you just don’t want to talk to therapist about your experience with SADs or don’t even know where to begin with treatment, the best thing you can do is converse with a friend or family member. It is better to treat a disorder with someone beside you then all on your own.

10. Medication

If other treatments just seem not to be cutting it, there are certain medications that may assist you. Though, it might be a better idea to try natural ways to aid SADs. It is also normal in taking doctor approved medications to help in this difficult time. However, be sure to consult your doctor about which one is right for your personal needs.

Seasonal Affective Disroder should not be dismissed and it nothing to be ashamed about. It is a responsiblity to oneself to take care of his/herwellbeing meantally, physcially, and emotionally. So please fellow colleigates take time out for yourself and find happiness this season the best you can. For more information on Seasonal Affective Disorder please go to Mayo Clinic.

Her Campus Utah Chapter Contributor