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4 Ways to Manage the Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder

sad young woman suffering from seasonal affective disorderSeasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a disorder commonly experienced in the winter months due to the lack of sun and inability to spend time outside. Its symptoms are very similar to depression including loss of enjoyment, listlessness, and lack of motivation. SAD can be difficult to cope with and upsetting with the holidays just around the corner. If you suffer from SAD, here are a few things you can do to combat the symptoms.

Exercise Regularly

Exercise is one of the best ways to battle depression and SAD. The activity releases endorphins that boost your mood and alleviate the symptoms associated with these disorders while keeping you physically fit, which offers numerous health benefits. Of course, staying active when it’s cold outside can be difficult. Some indoor activities you can do might be short burst exercisesTV workouts, or even utilizing home gym equipment.

Try Vitamin D Supplements

Lack of vitamin D is the biggest problem experienced by people with SAD. If spending time in the sun isn’t a possibility, supplements are a great way to go. Vitamin D supplements come in capsule form and can have a hugely beneficial impact. Vitamin D is an essential happiness-enhancing nutrient, and when your body stops creating the proper amount (as often happens to many people in the winter), you are left with SAD.

Consider Herbal Remedies

Some herbal remedies can be a very effective mood booster. Of course, sorting truly effective herbal remedies from falsely studied and advertised remedies can be difficult. It’s worth conducting some research to find out which herbs could be beneficial for you. Two common remedies used for depression are St. John’s Wort and Valerian root, each available in capsule form.

When seeking natural remedies, be sure to be wary of unproven methods. Some homeopathic “cures” have been proven entirely ineffective and are created by diluting a harmful substance so many times that your bottle is left with possibly one molecule of the original substance. In essence, some forms of homeopathy may be little more than seriously overpriced water.

Invest in a Lamp for Light Therapy

Light therapy is another method for upping vitamin D levels. Your body produces vitamin D when it comes in contact with sunlight. For the darker months, artificial sunlight can work just as well. Spend a few minutes during your day sitting in front of the light while you drink your coffee, watch TV, or even while sitting at your work desk.

If you use your light consistently, particularly when you first wake up, the symptoms of SAD can be completely eradicated. Small, portable lights are very affordable and can be found online as well as in home improvement stores.
Coping with SAD can be tough.

Fortunately, there are many options for handling the symptoms of SAD including lights, herbs, exercise, and supplements. Each person is different and not every solution will be useful. However, there is almost certainly something out there that will improve your mental state during the winter months and allow you to enjoy your holiday season. Try a few of these options or perhaps combine several and see how much better you can feel with just a few changes in your daily routine.
[Image via Pixabay by karenwarfel]

About the author

Dr. Cynthia Thaik, M.D., FACC is a Harvard-trained cardiologist serving the greater Los Angeles community at her holistic health center in Burbank and Valencia, CA. Dr. Thaik is the author of Your Vibrant Heart: Restoring Health, Strength, and Spirit from the Body’s Core. To learn more about Dr. Thaik or the Holistic Healing Heart Center, or to schedule an appointment, please contact info@drcynthia.com or call (818) 842-1410.

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