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Boost Your Mental Health This Season
D WAYS TO FIGHT SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that people experience every fall and winter. If you find yourself feeling blue as the days become shorter and darker, know there are things you can do to boost your mood until spring returns. INCREASE YOUR ACTIVITY Keeping your body active can increase your energy levels, help you sleep, reduce anxiety, and boost your self-esteem. Summit Medical Group states that a person who exercises for 30–60 minutes a day can manage or avoid SAD easier than a person who does not exercise regularly. When you participate in physical activity, your body releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins, which have a morphine-like effect on your brain. If exercising outdoors is not ideal, consider swimming, walking, or dancing instead. GET SOME SUN Exposure to sunlight is also significantly beneficial for people suffering from SAD. Sunlight helps your body produce adequate amounts of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness. Getting just a few minutes of sunlight a day through a walk or short jog
can make all the difference. If you live in an area where the winters are bleak, cloudy, and dark, sunlight can be harder to come by. But technology has you covered: You can purchase “sun lamps,” which simulate sunlight without the damaging UV rays. Just set up a sun lamp in your workspace or living area and feel your mood lift. MAINTAIN YOUR ROUTINE Often, it can be difficult to stick with your daily routine during the cooler months. It may be harder to wake up on time in the morning to work out, or it may be too cold outside to go on your daily run. Luckily, you can find small ways to mitigate this. For example, invest in a sunrise alarm clock, which gently wakes you up with a simulated sunrise, or shop for high-quality thermal workout gear. If you continue to suffer from SAD and feel there’s no end in sight, it’s important to seek help from professionals. They can determine the best treatment options available for you.
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