5 Proven Ways to Overcome Feeling Blue During Tough Times

How to Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder and Beat the Dark-Days Blues

As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, many people start to feel the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The lack of sunlight and dreary weather can leave you feeling lethargic, irritable, and depressed. However, even those who don’t suffer from SAD can experience a dip in mood during the darker months. If you’re looking for ways to beat the dark-days blues, here are some strategies that may help.

Take Extra-Good Care of Yourself
One of the best ways to improve your mood is to take extra-good care of yourself. When you’re not feeling your physical best, it can be even harder to feel emotionally well. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep at night, eating healthy, balanced meals, and getting regular exercise. Protect yourself against seasonal illness by getting a flu shot, washing your hands frequently, and avoiding office germs.

Keep Your Surroundings Bright
Another way to improve your mood is to keep your surroundings bright. If the rooms in your house are dim, consider adding another table or floor lamp. At work, get a lamp for your desk to make your personal area brighter. A brighter environment can help lift your mood and make you feel more energized.

Get Outside Whenever You Can
Whenever the weather permits, spend some time outside. Take your dogs for a walk, play a game with your kids, or just enjoy sitting in the fresh air for a little while. Even if the day is overcast, outdoor light can still make you feel better—not to mention the fact that just getting out into nature after being stuck indoors can cheer you up, too.

Try Light Therapy
Light boxes are a common treatment for SAD because they mimic the light you would receive from the sun. This light can affect the chemicals in your brain that regulate mood. Sitting a few feet away from a light box for half an hour each day can help improve SAD symptoms. Check with your health care provider for specific instructions, as they often advise you to do light therapy during certain periods of the day. Although light boxes can be a little pricey, they may improve your mood and energy levels over the long, dark months.

Take Natural Supplements
Melatonin is believed to help treat the symptoms of SAD by regulating your sleep-wake cycle, which can be disrupted when daylight hours get shorter. Vitamin D supplements can also help replenish the nutrients you’re no longer getting from sunlight.

Regular physical activity can actually give you more energy by getting you up off the couch and moving. Exercise is also a great way to work out negative emotions. Try something fun and peppy, like Zumba, to lift your mood. Something calming, like yoga, can relieve stress and center your thoughts. Something like kickboxing can release pent-up anger and frustration.

Avoid Alcohol
Alcohol can slow you down and make you feel groggy. It can also enhance your negative feelings and make you feel even worse.

See Your Doctor if Your Feelings Are Too Much
The symptoms of SAD are similar to the symptoms of depression. If your mood continues to worsen or you start to have thoughts of hopelessness or suicide, seek professional help immediately. You may need to be put on medication to help regulate your moods and might also benefit from counseling.

In conclusion, Seasonal Affective Disorder can make the colder months feel unbearable. But by taking care of yourself, keeping your surroundings bright, getting outside, trying light therapy, taking natural supplements, exercising, avoiding alcohol, and seeking professional help if necessary, you can beat the dark-days blues. Don’t let SAD or the winter weather get the best of you. With the right strategies in place, you can stay energized and positive all season long.

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