When asked what my favorite season is, I always give fall as my answer. But with the bright hues of autumn leaves comes short days and long nights. As days become cold and windy I find myself feeling just as gray as the skies surrounding me.
During fall and winter, many Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Those that suffer from mild or even no depression throughout most of the year may find themselves with an unexplainable need to stay in bed.
For as long as I can remember, the dark and chilly time of year has come with a lack of motivation. Because life goes on despite how little motivation I have, I have found a few ways to combat my SADness. I hope these at home treatments can help you too!
1. Use a sun lamp
Light therapy is helpful for a lot of people that suffer from SAD or depression year-round. Sun lamps mimic the light provided by the sun but do not cause skin cancer by any means. Sun lamps range in a number of sizes and prices. These are especially useful for those that work typical 9-5 business hours.
2. Go to the tanning bed
Yes, I know the tanning bed can cause skin cancer. I am not saying this is necessarily the best option, but for me, it has been very effective. Sometimes, a few minutes of light and warmth can completely change my week. Your doctor with never (actually) recommend it, but many other people have also found it especially helpful.
3. Exercise regularly
I was reluctant to try this one at first. I figured that working out would just make me even more tired than I already felt. Honestly, it had the complete opposite effect. When I work out regularly I have so much more energy and feel more focused. This doesn't have to be the stereotypical workout either. Sure, you could go run on a treadmill, but don't limit yourself!
4. Establish a routine
This one is so important. Our bodies thirst for a routine. Put your schedule in a planner!!! For some reason, having our schedule in writing makes us more accountable. Find a routine that works for you and STICK TO IT.
I cannot emphasize enough how much meditation has changed my life. Meditation is more than sitting criss-cross applesauce while saying "ohm". Sometimes I meditate in the morning, sometimes before bed. It can range from laying my bed to sitting outside taking in some fresh air. Meditating can seem very daunting, but there are many apps that provide a guided meditation. My favorite, by far, is Headspace.
6. Find a great therapist
Therapy doesn't make you crazy. Everybody can benefit from therapy. Say it with me- therapy isn't a bad thing.
I've been told many times that my love for essential oils is a little hippie-hippie, but don't knock it 'til you try it! There are so many oils that can help with anything from stress and restlessness to helping you sleep at night. Just a drop of essential oil can help me feel much more focused and wide-eyed.
8. Keep a journal
Yay - feelings! Journaling is a perfect way for putting your feelings "out there" without having to share with an actual person. I often have difficulty verbally expressing how I feel so writing is a great outlet for me. Just like everything else I've mentioned, journaling doesn't take a specific form. It's only for you, so make it what you want.
9. Find sunshine where you can
Just because it's cold and dark most of the time doesn't mean the sun never comes out. If it's a day where the sun is shining especially bright, take the time to soak up some rays! Sometimes, just a few minutes in the sun can go a long way.
Remember, you deserve nothing but the best. You deserve to be happy. So, if that means occasionally indulging in what makes to smile, PLEASE DO IT. Wanting some ice cream? Eat some frickin' ice cream.