During the winter, it can be all too easy to start feeling depressed, especially during the late part of winter when you wish the winter would end and you crave signs of spring. One of the biggest difficulties of this time of year is that the days are shorter and the nights are longer. When you add in the fact that it's cold outside and the sun doesn't come out as much as it does during the spring and summer.
These things alone aren't necessarily the cause of the depression, although the lack of light certainly doesn't help. It's how you react during the winter months. Do you feel burned out and frustrated? Do you avoid going outside? It's important to be aware of your feelings and take action before you actually become depressed. Here's some things you can do:
Spend Time Outside
Even though spending time outside is the last thing you might want to do, this is the very thing that will help prevent or treat SAD. Force yourself to spend time outside each day, even if it's only for fifteen or twenty minutes. Go for a walk, shovel some snow, or take up a winter sport like skiing. It doesn't really matter what you do, as long as it brings you outside.
Use Light Therapy
Light therapy can be very useful for those who are suffering from seasonal affected disorder. If you find that you don't feel inspired to go outside, or you spend time outside but it isn't enough, consider buying some full spectrum lights for your home and make it a point to sit close to them each day.
Exercise to Boost Mood
Exercise can be very useful in helping to relieve your feelings of depression in the winter. Exercise boosts the mood and can help keep you focused and motivated. You'll get even more benefits from this if you are able to exercise outdoors.
Supplements can help you if you're feeling low during the winter. Before you try anything, be sure to talk things over with your doctor. Some people find relief by taking mood boosting herbs like Saint John's wort, supplements like Sam-e, and even supplementing with Vitamin D.
Monitor Your Sleep Habits
When depressed, you may feel as if all you want to do is sleep. It is important to resist the urge to sleep too much. However, some people react to SAD differently and find that they have trouble sleeping. If this describes you, make sure you are getting as much sleep as you need.
As you can see, there are some natural things you can do that will help you control your seasonal depression. Be sure to see your doctor if you think you're suffering from SAD and together, you can come up with an effective treatment schedule.