Things you can do to stave off feeling sad about SAD.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that temporarily affects certain people at the same time each year, usually between fall and winter. This type of disorder can wreak havoc on your enthusiasm to maintain healthy habits throughout the winter season, but thankfully there are a few things you can do to help stave off feeling sad about SAD.
A lot of us suffer from lack of daylight in the winter, and when we can’t get it thinking about it is the next best thing. Whenever you need a lift, take a few moments out of your day to sit quietly and visualize the sun shining down on you. Imagine a warm, bright, yellow sun sending rays of cheerfulness in your direction.
Getting some type of exercise will pump up the body’s level of endorphins (feel good hormones). Use winter tasks like shoveling snow or scraping icy windshields to get the endorphins flowing. Even a small amount exercise will work wonders to raise you out of a slump.
The thought of cuddling up on the couch with a good book, a warm blanket and a cup of tea in the middle of winter is enticing, but the benefits of reading go way beyond feeling cozy. Reading stimulates the brain and keeps you alert and attentive, which are two components that help to stave off boredom and apathy.
There always seems to be something in the news that is dreadful or depressing. Avoid watching it from time to time. You won’t be left in the dark. In fact, as a result of taking mini “news fasts” you’ll keep up your levels of hope and optimism.
Focus on eating seasonal foods like winter squash and root vegetables such as carrots or parsnips. Just as they can survive in storage or underground through a cold, dark stretch of time, they will provide you with the nutrients you need to maintain your vitality through the dark days of winter.
Take the time to call a friend you haven’t spoken with in years, or bond with a long lost cousin. The connection will spark the fire of inspiration, and give you a rosy-cheeked glow when the sunshine is on holiday behind the clouds.
Treat yourself to a massage, or a schedule an appointment for an acupuncture session. Taking care of yourself will alleviate gloomy day laziness and revive your motivation. Most importantly, don’t feel guilty about it. Winter is a time to reconnect and realign with our intentions, so show some appreciation for your mind and body by taking extra special care. Not only will it help you, it will help those around you.
If you happen to feel the symptoms of SAD creeping in, write about it. When your thoughts and emotions leave the pen, they leave your body in a way. Journaling is a great way to release, reflect and reevaluate. When you read your journal later, you will have a clear insight to how you felt and why, and what worked best to turn your frown upside down.
Jill Lawson is a yoga teacher and freelance writer based in Dolores, Colorado. When she was 11-years-old, her family moved away from a life on the east coast, heavily influenced by money and status, to live a simple life in Colorado on a beautiful piece of land without plumbing, television or a telephone. The gifts of this ultimate lesson in letting go are what fuel her yoga practice and teachings. In addition to the experiences life taught her, she has a master’s degree in exercise science and is a certified Sivananda yoga teacher. She enjoys teaching vinyasa yoga as well as yoga for ski conditioning, yoga for golf and yoga for a strong and healthy core.
Editor: Sara McKeown