I don't know about you, but now that we have fully emerged in a bitter cold winter, my Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is also in full swing. About 6% of Americans suffer from SAD, commonly known as seasonal depression, at its highest mark. An additional 10-20% of Americans are affected by a more mild version of SAD. So mild, that you may not even realize that you have it.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is linked to a lack of light, so symptoms normally begin as the days become shorter and autumn turns to winter. However, people with SAD are known to show symptoms during cloudy weather at any point of the year, or if spending extensive time in a basement or a space without windows. For patients at the height of SAD, symptoms can include negative effects on productivity at work or school, interpersonal relationships, and a marked loss of pleasure or interest in most activities.
There are certainly many ways to cope with Seasonal Affective Disorder and just like any depression or mental illness, every individual has a different experience. Here are some every day, home remedies that are found to be effective to get you through this year's SADs.
1. Light exposure in the morning
Studies show that exposure to light markedly increases happiness in patients with mental illness. This especially helps when done immediately upon waking up in the morning. You can even buy lightboxes made especially for SAD patients if you do not receive direct sunlight in your home.
2. Take a walk every day
Not only will this ensure you sunlight every day, but it will also exercise your muscles when you are less likely to be exercising. Of course, if you're normally exercising then you've already got this one covered!
Studies have shown that aromatherapy can be a marked natural treatment for depression, so much so that it has even lowered pharmaceutical antidepressant doses in certain cases. Pro tip: Lavender is especially proven as an antidepressant. Buying an aromatherapy diffuser is always a great way to go.
4. Sticking to a regular schedule
Whether it's your day off or not, you should wake up in the same general time every day as much as you can. Your body responds in positive ways to regularity in sleep, exercise, and eating.
5. Keeping a journal
Whether you're an artist, writer or neither, journaling has significant therapeutic value for anyone. Your journal is your space, whatever you want can be inside of it, no judgment just you!