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3 Ways to Take the Edge Off Seasonal Affective Disorder

It’s that time of year again — the days get shorter and the couch lounging gets longer. 

Winter is a natural time of recuperation and reflection. But too much can easily slip into Seasonal Affective Disorder — or SAD (has there ever been a more on-the-nose acronym?). Women are more likely to experience SAD, as well as those who live in cloudy, colder places — hello Kentuckiana!
Symptoms of SAD include: Lack of energy, Craving carbs, overeating, Feelings of sadness or a serious mood shift when the seasons change, Sleeping too much or insomnia and a loss of interest in pleasurable activities, including sex.

Here are 3 Ways to Combat SAD:

1. Exercise: Yoga, pilates, barre, circuit training, water aerobics, spin classes, it doesn’t have to be boring!

Baby it’s cold outside! And that means you’re indoors more. All of those times in better weather when you didn’t even realize you were moving your body, like chasing the kids or dogs around the yard, gardening, etc. You aren’t doing that right now. Study after study shows that moving your body pumps happy, feel-good chemicals into your brain.

2. Get Social: Buy tickets to a show, take an art or cooking class with your partner, plan a spa day with your sis or go to a museum.
Despite how it may seem, the characters on the show you’re binging aren’t your real friends. 

We’ve all been Netflix shamed — “No, I’m not still watching this, but yes, I need the distraction from my own thoughts!” Resist the urge to cancel or not make plans. Give your brain a break from your worries and stressors. Engage your friends in some lighthearted fun!

3. Light Therapy: The Wirecutter recommends these two lamps, Carex Day-Light Classic Plus Lamp and Northern Light Technologies Boxelite Desk Lamp.

Let there be light! Experts believe that light, or lack there of, is a trigger for SAD. Adding light into your daily routine can help boost your mood. Generally speaking, it’s safe for most adults. However, those with diabetes or retniopathies taking certain medicines may be at risk of certain side effects. Always talk to your doctor before starting any new treatment.

If the symptoms of SAD linger for longer than two weeks — especially when you’ve taken the appropriate preventive measures — please contact your physician. Additional medication or therapy may be needed. Stay warm and stay happy, folks!