Five Tips to Prepare for SAD
The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting cooler. When you wake up in the morning and it’s still dark outside, it can be tough to start your day on the right foot. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD – what a great acronym…) is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, usually starting in fall, continuing on through winter, and finally dissipating in the spring. It can make you feel tired and moody. Unfortunately, humans don’t get to hibernate and sleep the dark, cold seasons away. But we’ve got some great tips to brush off the winter blues and keep your mood and energy up all winter long!
1. Brighten it up!
When it is sunny outside, be sure to let in the natural light. Even though the weather is cooler, the sun is still hot and can actually warm up your home or office if it’s allowed to stream in. Getting ready for work or school with no sunlight outside is hard: When it’s not possible to get a good amount of natural light (there are many grey days in the winter), consider phototherapy. Photo therapy, or light therapy, boxes help to mimic natural light. You can work, read, write, or eat near them to get an effect.
2. Stay Active!
Exercise has a very positive effect on mood, no matter the season. When you need that extra boost in the winter, it can really go a long way in making you feel better. Getting outside to exercise is even better – you get the additional benefit of fresh air and, depending on the day, some sunlight. But if it’s too cold out there, head to the gym or look into home workouts. Exercise releases dopamine, which is a mood regulator – so work up a sweat to fight the funk!
3. Organize your home!
Seems like a weird tip, but here’s how it work: For one, it gives you something to do – part of the winter blues is feeling the desire to stay in your bed, all day long. Decluttering your house and organizing your living space requires you to get up, move around, do something. But secondly, since you’ll be spending a lot of your time indoors away from the cold, creating a clean, organized space will make your time inside more enjoyable. Spruce it up a bit, make it a place you want to come home to and move around in, without heading straight to bed.
4. Get enough sleep.
Yeah, as we just mentioned, you don’t want to spend all day in bed. But the reality is, if you’re continually exhausted, your body needs more rest. Set up a good, solid sleep schedule that pencils in a few more Zzzs on your nightly calendar. Maybe head to bed an hour earlier, or set your alarm a few minutes later. Or, on the weekends, take a nap! Take care of yourself, get your sleep in. Winter may not be for hibernating, but it can be a great time to catch up on much needed rest.
It’s easy to stay in every night, nice and warm in the comfort of your own home. But be sure to make it out every now and then (aside from work) to spend time with your family or friends. If you can, head out during the day so you can soak in (or at least lay eyes on) the sunlight. You could also make a list of activities you’d like to accomplish this winter, so it’s not just another dreary time you can’t wait to get past. Even though it’s cold, and even though it’s dark, and even though sometimes it’s downright miserable, make the most of it and get to living!
We hope some of these tips helps you make it through the snow season, and look forward to the holidays ahead. As always, we are not doctors and this should not be construed as official medical advice. If you are having trouble coping with SAD, please visit your doctor to discuss more options.
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