5 Ways To Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder

5 Ways To Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder

Is the winter weather wearing on more than just your tires? Here are some ways to counteract the affects of SAD.
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As the snowbanks pile higher I find myself feeling increasingly under the weather emotionally. In New England late February is associated with melting snow and sometimes rain, but this year we have been bombarded (and then some) with snow. And being someone who gets cold easily and enjoys a nice 75 degrees and sunny, I am finding myself and those around me, feeling down in the dumps.

The clinical term for this is Seasonal Affective Disorder, commonly known as seasonal depression. The disorder is defined as, “a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer. Depressive episodes linked to the summer can occur, but are much less common than winter episodes of SAD,” according to the National Institute of Mental Health. SAD is a form of depression that if serious can require therapy and proper treatment, but there are some ways to counteract the effects in perhaps less severe cases or early stages of the disorder.

Having scoured the internet for ways to counter the effects of what some refer to as the “winter blues”, here are five ways to combat SAD:

1. Plan a trip

Booking a flight and an Airbnb for a getaway where there is a beach involved, always makes me feel a little warmer. It gives me something to look forward to. I hear Greece is beautiful in the springtime! And if Athens and Ouzo are out of your price range, Charleston, SC is supposed to be a nice trip as well.

2. Practice Mindfulness

Unless you live in Antarctica the snow outside will not be there forever (depending on your take on climate change, of course), so why not take advantage of it. Try winter sports like skiing or snowshoeing and if you’re not that ambitious try going for a walk to see the fresh layer of snow. As easy as it is to hate, you cannot deny that the white stuff is beautiful. Why not take advantage of it while it is here? Just know that the sun will come out eventually. After all, mindfulness is all about being where you are and in the moment. Be patient, try to find joy in the little things and it will be Spring before you know it.

3. Invest in some light therapy

Whether you prefer makeup mirrors, goggles or lamps, the market for indoor light sources that provide the virtual sensation of sitting out in the sun has been cornered. It is not the real thing, but there have been studies linking certain lights and their affect on people’s moods. Some say that sitting in front of the proper light for as little as 15 minutes a day can significantly lift your spirits.

4. Go out in the sun

In New England, the sun is a rumor that only a few have confirmed the existence of, but if you happen to be walking by a window in your office and there is light streaming through and emanating from this big ball in the sky, take a minute and stand in its rays. Even better, if you have five minutes, go outside and stand in it when it is hottest out. There is simply no substitute for Vitamin D directly from the source.

5. Exercise

As much as the gym seems to be this dreaded and perhaps mysterious place, getting your brain pumped with some necessary oxygen and endorphins may just give you the boost you need. Plus, your body will appreciate it.

Cover Image Credit: wikia

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things. If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity towards this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you, if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs. In a world where a six figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm..

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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10 Thoughts You Have While Going On Your Daily Run

1. "I wonder what I'm going to eat after this?"

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Running has been a part of my life since I was in about third grade. Once I started at that young tender age, I never looked back. As I'm out and about running through whatever neighborhood or trail, I have these thoughts that I feel as though most runners have, but it could possibly be just me. So, without further ado these are the thoughts!

1. "I wonder what I'm going to eat after this?"

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Food is fuel, yeah I get that. But, at the same rate I never stop thinking about the possibility of just pouring food into my mouth after literally pounding my feet into the ground.

2.  "Where is the closest bathroom?"

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Our bodies know when nature calls and sometimes it happens while you're in the middle of a run. Most definitely the worst feeling while running, this comes from several runs of feeling like an accident is going to happen at any given step.

 3. "Halfway there!"

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Hitting that halfway point is always an amazing feeling! You have gone through half of the workout. Almost there just keep running.

4. "This wind is awful."

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Living in Michigan during the fall is fun. The colors are all over the trees, the sun is out, it's not hot anymore, but there is always something to screw it up; the wind. During the fall the wind will gust in your face and it makes you never want to run outside ever again.

5. “Am I really going that fast/slow?”

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Looking down at the watch when you're going fast: Wow I'm flying, go me! The thought when looking at how slow you're going: "It's not me, its the weather and that five-gallon tub of ice cream I ate the night before that's slowing me down."

6.  “That cute girl totally noticed me.”

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Yeah, that girl is totally impressed at how short my shorts are, how toned my legs are, or maybe it's the weird face I'm making while I'm breathing so I don't fall to the ground. Either way, she totally noticed me. I think this one is a personal one.

7. “If my GPS doesn’t locate I’m out.”

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Waiting for the GPS to connect is frustrating, especially in the cold. If the watch doesn't locate anytime soon I'm going to go home and binge that show I meant to watch three weeks ago.

8. “Alright here comes the second wind!”

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May feel very tired, but all of the sudden that second wind kicks in and instantly the feeling of getting this run done is back.

9. “My nipples are chafing so badly.”

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This is most definitely something runners go through. Don't judge me, there have been several occasions of this burning and uncomfortable feeling.

10. “Why do I do this?”

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Probably the biggest thought of them all. No matter how far I'm going I will always have this thought and I assume other runners do too. But, at the end of the day, it's the love and the adrenaline that keeps us going. Running is what keeps our spirit warm, I will never give it up no matter how hard it gets.

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