While autumn can bring some of the most beautiful weather of the year, it can also bring something not-so-nice along with it – Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. Starting in fall and continuing through winter, SAD has many symptoms including fatigue, hopelessness, depression, reduced social interactions, sleep disturbances, weight gain, apathy, appetite disturbances, and mood swings. While SAD typically resolves itself in several months, usually when the seasons change, these symptoms can range from minor to extremely debilitating.
A common mistake is to wait until symptoms are in full swing before trying to take steps to deal with SAD. Or worse yet, waiting until things are so bad that taking steps becomes almost impossible. So what can you do? Start taking steps now to head off the impacts of SAD. The real beauty? All of the steps you can take are healthy practices even if you don’t have SAD. You will be covered if you do have SAD and healthier even if you don’t!
There are a variety of steps you can take to counter the symptoms of SAD and many of them don’t require any special equipment or even leaving the house! Nature is incredibly important for mental health and so is exercise. You may be a winter sports enthusiast and get outdoors but even if you aren’t you can buy houseplants to bring nature inside while you exercise. Getting regular sleep is essential, so make sure you follow a consistent schedule and get enough. Alcohol can contribute to depression so reducing or eliminating it is a great way to combat SAD. Reduced amounts of sunlight is a big contributor as well. If you can’t get outside during sunny days using full-spectrum lights for light therapy is an effective solution.
Those are just some of the ways you can battle the effects of SAD. To help you create your own plan, Dr. Lara Salyer at Health Innate created a fantastic one-page action plan that lets you easily customize your own plan. It is a one-page plan that includes a wide range of strategies. You tailor each one to fit your life and in just a few minutes you have a road map of how to make your fall and winter months better. I want to give a big thanks to Dr. Salyer for this amazing resource! Just click the image below to download a pdf and get started today.
Photo by: Jean-Pol GRANDMONT [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons