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Beat The Winter Blues: 4 Ways To Overcome Seasonal Affective Disorder

The 'season to be jolly' is definitely not happy for everybody. Those who have Seasonal Affective Disorder must endure, rather than enjoy, the winter months. Until now, that is.

With winter comes cold, darkness, and for some people, a bout of sadness. Sometimes, cuddling up on the couch and watching the snow fall becomes a depressing habit rather than a happy moment. Those who can track their emotional problems with the colder weather may have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a classified type of depression that occurs during certain times of year, generally during the winter months. SAD is a real thing and it affects millions of people each year. It's also more common in women than in men.

To manage your symptoms—especially if they're particularly severe—you may want to see a medical professional or psychologist. Serious cases of depression can be treated with counselling support, prescription drugs or both.

For those who know they're affected by the winter but don't have symptoms bad enough to warrant a visit to the doc, depression symptoms can be managed at home. Even if you aren't generally affected by the winter months, these four anti-depression techniques may retain your personal light, warmth, and happiness during the snowy season.

1/
Get More Vitamin D

Vitamin D, often termed the "sunshine vitamin," is produced naturally by the body when the direct sunlight hits the skin. During the winter months, when sun exposure is almost non-existent, you're more likely to run a deficit.

Vitamin D is important for the absorption of calcium. Without sufficient levels, bone remodelling won't take place as it normally does, which could leave you suffering from weak and brittle bones. Vitamin D is also essential for cell growth, maintaining the healthy function of the immune system, and reducing inflammation. Getting the proper amount of vitamin D will help ensure that you feel your best each day, and, should you feel the symptoms, decrease the severity of SAD.

Unfortunately, few food sources contain naturally high doses of vitamin D, so supplementation will probably be your best strategy. You can get some extra vitamin D from beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks. For supplementation, take at least the generally recommended 600 IUs per day.

2/
Try Light Therapy

Light therapy is generally useful for people who don't get enough vitamin D. You can get light therapy by using special, very-bright (3,000-10,000 lux) lamp. This lamp or "light box" can help your body naturally create the vitamin D you need. The light can also ease the symptoms of depression.

Light therapy isn't foolproof. It works better for some than others. Light boxes can also cause headaches and eye problems. So, before you go buy one, make sure you do some research or talk to a doctor about how they work.

3/
Find Workouts You Enjoy

When you're down, the last thing you feel like doing is going to the gym. However, exercising can be one of the best ways to combat depression.

Taking part in a regular workout program is going to boost your well-being by causing a flood of feel-good endorphins. A good workout can also help increase your energy levels.

If you're exercising to help ease your SAD symptoms, focus less on the muscle-building or fat-loss results of your workouts. Find something that you enjoy doing: yoga, dancing, swimming, or lifting.

Focus on the fun, or do it for how good it makes you feel. It doesn't matter which exercise technique you use, just make sure it's something you are motivated to do multiple times per week. Right now, you're exercising for your mental health, not for your giant biceps.

4/
Keep Regular Sleep Hours

Because winter days are short, you don't want to waste them by sleeping. It's best to be awake as much as possible for the sunlight hours so you can expose yourself to the daylight as much as you can.

To regulate your sleep hours, go to bed at the same time each night and get up each morning at the same time. This helps keep your body in a routine. If you're struggling to fall asleep, consider using a melatonin supplement. Melatonin can help to regulate your natural circadian rhythm, making it easier to go to bed at night and wake up on schedule.


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About The Author

I’ve been working in the field of exercise science for the last 8 years. I’ve written a number of online and print articles.

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NiasBalata

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NiasBalata

nice advices thanks

Article Rated:
Nov 20, 2012 1:05am | report
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zecoo

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zecoo

thanks for the advices

Nov 20, 2012 4:37am | report
a10091986

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a10091986

nice. to read

Nov 20, 2012 2:29pm | report
cldillmann1

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cldillmann1

I take melatonin every night before bed. Keeps my sleep schedule regualr so i can train in the morning not being tired

Nov 20, 2012 3:38pm | report
SugarNation

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SugarNation

Awesome tip for the sleep-challenged. Thanks man.

Nov 20, 2012 7:35pm | report
Achezallover

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Achezallover

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/940.html

Definitely not worth the money...

Nov 25, 2012 1:27pm | report
drummrboy123

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drummrboy123

How is it not worth the money? The link you pasted showed the uses for and the results of taking it along with side effects and use warning just like any other supplement on the market.

Melatonin is like 5 bucks and most definitely aids sleep...it even states "Likely Safe" when taken in moderation...so, what is the problem?

Nov 28, 2012 11:15am | report
JorgeGA

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JorgeGA

Beware the side effects. Can give some headaches and sleepiness during day. Though it didn�t work for me, I know it worked for some friends.
Anyway, the best way is to exercise! Get the double benefit (stay fit and sleep more).

Dec 27, 2012 1:07pm | report
prestonnoble

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prestonnoble

Love it! GREAT job Shannon!

Nov 20, 2012 5:34pm | report
xMiiDNIGHT

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xMiiDNIGHT

I usually get my seasonal depression in that gray time between winter and fall. But vitamin D definitely helps a ton.

Nov 21, 2012 11:07am | report
ScrappinSylas

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ScrappinSylas

Interesting article, will keep a lookout for depressed looking family and friends.

Nov 22, 2012 7:49pm | report
JoelPadua

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JoelPadua

Awesome tips for winter, the laziest season of the year...

Nov 25, 2012 9:06am | report
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kishan322kishan

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kishan322kishan

unorthodox advice but it looks legitimate

Nov 26, 2012 5:44am | report
drummrboy123

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drummrboy123

How is any of this unorthodox advice? Maintain your workouts, get proper rest, get a dose of the Sun every now and then...really not rocket science.

Nov 26, 2012 6:31am | report
logik1717

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logik1717

Good advice

Dec 18, 2012 12:20pm | report
victor92trini

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victor92trini

vitamin D is awesome, and be careful with use of melatonin.
You do want a full 8 hours of rest WITH melatonin.

Dec 26, 2012 5:11pm | report
SoQuick

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SoQuick

Be careful using melatonin if you have depression as it can worsten the condition. Benadryl works well for me. 50mg about 8.5 hours before I have to get up.

Dec 28, 2012 3:52pm | report
nikelikefifty

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nikelikefifty

good good

Dec 29, 2012 3:58pm | report
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mswhittinghill

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mswhittinghill

great advice!

Jan 3, 2013 12:03pm | report
JChristopher07

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JChristopher07

Thanks! Definitely going to try Vitamin D...as far as sleep goes, my hours at work are back and fourth all the time and swap week-to-week. I have tried melatonin, because obviously a sleep schedule where I go to bed at 10 pm one night and 6 am the next makes it difficult to get any pattern.

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Jan 3, 2013 12:27pm | report
apinian

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apinian

yea, very creative.

Jun 28, 2013 2:07pm | report
DannyNova1

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DannyNova1

Not just I feel like crap in the winter time, but I also work nightshifts. I mean not like once twice in a week but every day ! :) So thanks for the advices ! :)

Aug 31, 2013 5:42pm | report
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CoffeeMamma

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CoffeeMamma

Thanks for that :)
Any tips on the best Light boxes to use?

Dec 4, 2013 9:43am | report
Showing 1 - 23 of 23 Comments

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