Seasonal Affective Disorder, Depression, or Something Else? Self-Care Can Help
by Kimberly Hayes
If your feelings of depression and low energy tend to peak in the winter, you may think you are suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but it could also be something else. That’s why you need to know the most effective ways to combat SAD and the best methods for determining the source of your feelings in the first place. Here are some wonderful tips that can help you get through your winter blues, no matter the cause.
Bring Those Outdoors Workouts Home
Exercise is an incredibly helpful tool for countering the symptoms of SAD. If you normally get exercise with an after-work run or a morning bike ride, shorter days can be a real downer. Having a small home gym can negate the effects that a lack of exercise has on your mental health during the darker, winter months.
A Distraction Free Space
A sedentary routine tends to lead to more feelings of depression and anxiety. So, if you have an extra room, some space in your garage, or an unused basement area, consider creating your own workout area at home to maintain your regular fitness routine. These distraction-free spaces can be more effective than keeping equipment in your living room or bedroom. Consequently you only need a few tools to get a really great workout. To keep yourself from getting bored, you could use YouTube workout tutorials to mix up your workout. There are workout videos online for every kind of exercise, from kettlebell strength training to calorie-burning Pilates. You’ll always have a new way to burn those calories and keep your symptoms in check.
Place Some Extra Emphasis on Mental Health
The effects of SAD can be physical and mental, with your energy levels dipping and feelings of depression taking over. The source of these symptoms, however, usually has something to do with the state of your mind and mental health. Researchers have found a link between inflammation in the brain and an increased risk of mental health issues, including the anxiety and depression that often accompany SAD.
One natural way you can manage your mental health is to add CBD to your health regimen. CBD has been proven to relieve inflammation and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. The side effects are typically minimal, but you should definitely do your homework before you start using this potentially helpful supplement. It’s also a good idea to consult your healthcare provider to address any mental health concerns. Sometimes, it can be difficult to distinguish between SAD and a deeper rooted mental health problem. So do not attempt any self-therapy until you have officially been diagnosed with SAD. If you are diagnosed with SAD, you may need to look into these kinds of treatments, including supplements and light therapy.
Focus on Improving Other Lifestyle Habits
Taking better care of yourself is the key to combating the effects of seasonal affective disorder. However, that entails so much more than exercise and mental health management. SAD can impact all aspects of your physical and mental health. So your efforts to contain it should be just as comprehensive. Start by cleaning up your diet, which is a vital source for energy and overall health. When those winter doldrums creep in, it can be all too tempting to reach for those comforting, carb-loaded foods. The refined carbohydrates found in your favorite winter and holiday foods, such as cookies and rich desserts, can actually cause more intense feelings of depression. It’s just one of the connections between your diet and your health. So try to limit these sugary, high-calorie foods, even around the holidays. Sleep is another crucial tool for fending off SAD, so start taking steps now to improve your bedtime habits.
Take Care of Yourself
Whether your feelings are a result of Seasonal Affective Disorder or some other issue, taking better care of yourself should always be your first step to pick yourself up. Either way, be sure to consult a healthcare professional and take the measures you need to improve your mental health.
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