If you’re feeling down or your depression is worsened by the winter months, you may suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Shorter days and shifts in weather can form this type of depression and cause unwanted symptoms. Here are a few ways in which you can manage SAD:

  1. Stick to a Routine. Maintaining a regular schedule is important with SAD. Having set wake, sleep, and eating times can help to alleviate symptoms such as tiredness and weight gain.
  2. Stay Active. Exercising releases endorphins that reduce pain and increase feelings of well-being. Staying active can increase self-esteem, improve sleep, and reduce anxiety.
  3. Keep a Journal. Writing down your thoughts creates an outlet for the negative feelings you may be experiencing. Addressing your feelings and concerns can be a great thing to reflect on when identifying depression triggers.
  4. Get Outside. Getting some extra vitamin D from the sun is essential when it comes to feeling mentally charged. Go for a walk outside around midday when the sun is at its brightest.
  5. Maintain a Healthy Diet. What we eat plays a significant role in how we feel mentally. Eating nutrient-dense foods containing vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids can help to decrease SAD symptoms.
  6. Stay Social. Find creative ways to stay connected with others during winter months. Consider joining a book club, playing a sport, or scheduling regular meetings with relatives and friends. Decreasing isolation diminishes feelings of emptiness and loneliness.

No matter how cold or dark it may be outside, there are ways to fight off the winter blues. Use these tips and talk to your healthcare provider about more ways to treat seasonal affective disorder.