What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder And How Can You Combat It?

When it gets to the end of the calendar year, some people may find that their mood drops, and they don’t know why. This is likely the result of seasonal affective disorder, a problem that affects around 4-6% of Americans. Thankfully, there are ways to combat it.

What is seasonal affective disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is an issue that sees a person’s mood change negatively in time with the seasons. It’s a depression that typically crops up in winter, potentially because of how the weather and daylight hours influence circadian rhythm. Research into the exact cause of SAD is still ongoing, with disruption to hormone production also possibly to blame. Regardless of the cause, though, the solutions are the same.

Use a light therapy box

Natural light is good for the mind and body. Unfortunately, there’s a lot less of it during winter due to the Earth’s rotation. That’s why spending time around a light therapy box is worthwhile. This device mimics sunlight in a way that other artificial light doesn’t, so it should ensure that your circadian rhythm continues to act normally. Doing this for 30 minutes at the start of each day ought to get the job done.

Buy a dawn simulator

Another device that’s worthwhile is a dawn simulator. This is essentially an alarm clock, but one that uses light instead of sound. It gradually increases the light intensity in your room, so you wake up more naturally. This can really help your circadian rhythm and ensure you start your day refreshed rather than tired.

Speak with a professional

What advice would you give to someone that has depression? Most people would probably say to speak to someone, and that’s precisely what you should do if you have SAD. It might only be seasonal, but it’s still a form of depression. Therefore, engaging with a professional can help you diagnose the disorder and find ways around it with someone who knows what they’re talking about.

Maintain your schedule

Having SAD can make it hard to follow a schedule because you struggle to fall asleep and wake up at the appropriate times. However, it’s vital that you do what you can to stick to a routine. By doing things at the same time every day, you help your body understand when it’s supposed to be awake and asleep. That way, it doesn’t try to fight you at night or in the morning.

Get some exercise

Exercise is almost always guaranteed to boost your mood. You might not think so after wearing yourself out on the treadmill, but keeping fit can really do your mind a ton of good. If possible, try to exercise outside, so you gain the benefits of natural light. Working out near a window is a good alternative, though, if the conditions outside aren’t suitable.

Seasonal affective disorder isn’t a fun thing to deal with, especially because it can crop up every year when winter comes around. However, it’s not impossible to keep it under control when you have certain solutions at your disposal.