From spending time with animals to positive self-talk, these expert-backed suggestions will help you get through the Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Woman admiring nature while standing in a window


When everything around you is blooming and the weather is a bit warmer too, but you are still feeling depressed, there may be an unforeseen reason for that i.e. Seasonal Affective Disorder (also called SAD). The SAD can happen throughout any seasonal variation. It’s most usual in the winter months, but summer seasonal affective disorder occurs as well. And it’s more than just the winter melancholy. SAD can be draining and meddle with everyday life. About 5% of people in the U.S. struggle with SAD, and according to the American Psychiatric Association, it is more frequent in women than men.

If you are stuck in between blaming and not blaming SAD for your moodiness, depression, irritation, and lassitude, these tips by experts may be helpful.

Girl lying on bed while playing with her cats


Pets do have healing power if that’s not already proven by the countless trending videos of lovable pets on the Internet. In fact, it is acknowledged by experts that the genuine love and comfort pets provide can help ease depression, stress, and loneliness. Mayra Mendez, Ph.D., psychotherapist and program coordinator at Providence Saint John’s Child & Family Development Center in Santa Monica, California, advises, “If you are a pet owner, take time each day to touch, play, or chat with your animal.” She also says that if you don’t own a pet, offer at your local animal shelter, or even try snuggling with a stuffed animal or furry blanket for a few moments.

Person standing near exercising accessories


We all are very well aware that exercise is the natural and the most effective way of fighting the depression and returning health to the body. Robin H-C, life coach, behaviorist and bestselling author of Thinking Your Way to Happy says, “The body’s designed to be rewarded with feel-good chemicals called endorphins in response to movement.” He continues, “These chemicals create a sense of well-being, have an analgesic effect on the body, aid in relaxation, and enhance one’s ability to deal with life’s challenges and stressors.”

If you don’t have a daily exercise routine, then you have just got a great reason to start it. Jennifer Horton, certified coach and life success consultant, Cottondale, Florida, states, “Winter is a good time to join an exercise group, gym activities or another type of program that’ll help you create a regular routine and have support in maintaining it.” While it might seem opposite to go outdoor in the winter, taking in the fresh air and receiving natural light will have a positive influence on your mood, too, so get up and go out for a stroll when you can.

Ballantine's bottle with two rock glasses


It’s best to avoid things that are responsible to increase the symptoms when you are going through any mood disorders.

H-C says, “Alcohol, processed sugar, caffeine, sedatives, and stimulating drugs of any kind will mess with your biochemistry and challenge your mental well-being.” She adds, “It’s in your best interest—in the winter months as well as year-round—to find natural, healthy ways to enhance your mood either through exercise or pursuing hobbies that make you happy.”

Woman enjoying the evening in a decorated launch


Tidying your life physically can have an empowering impact psychologically as well, whether it’s washing out a closet or shifting up the furniture in your home and bequeathing stuff you don’t use anymore. Mendez says, “This strategy activates your creative juices and increases the chance that small changes may bring a greater sense of purpose and value to your life in the moment.” She adds more, “It also stimulates a sense of success by reinforcing acceptance of creative implementation and opens the way for new perspectives or attitudes, which may be particularly helpful to someone who feels stuck in the drudgery of life.”

A photo of multi color abstract painting


Chromotherapy has been around since early age. It is a way of utilizing color as a method of alternative medicine and healing. By the time, researchers are now capable of explaining the ways in which color and light are able to influence and enhance psychological behavior. Erin Stutland, life, and fitness coach in New York City and founder of Shrink Session, who has SAD, says, “I always try to make sure to have either fresh colorful flowers in my home, wear bright, vibrant polish, or even a red lipstick to up my mood.” She says that “It doesn’t have to be dramatic, just something to give me a boost. I have to say, all of these things work like a charm for me.”

A group of friends laughing


As a child, laughing was a major part of your everyday routine because it made you feel great. Nowadays, you might don’t get to laugh much but laughing can still give that same mood-uplifting impact it did back then. And that’s great for you too. H-C says, “When we laugh, our body releases positive body chemicals that reduce the brain’s perception of pain in the body.”

Laughter always. Whether it’s because of a hilarious movie, funny videos on the internet, or being happy with the closed ones.

“Even pretending a burst of laughter triggers the relief of these happy juices in your body.”

Girl reading a book


Mendez says, “When you’re feeling down, do something that takes you away from your overwhelming feelings and brings you to a happier place, even if only for a few minutes.”

“This might include doing a craft, reading a book on your wish list, going to the movies, cooking your favorite meal or treat, looking up a new recipe, or listening to an inspirational message.”

Doing something of interest grants you the possibility to feel in charge and take care of yourself. Design your own special memories, practices, ideas, and routines, and snap away from the usual, expected routines.

Young person helping and old man with something


According to Mendez, “Not only is giving always a mood-booster, but volunteering can also provide the opportunity for interactions that might otherwise have been neglected or avoided.” Plans like providing food at abandoned shelters, offering to wrap gifts over the holidays, or granting time to local social occasions such as parades all help reduce isolation, further engagement in useful and significant projects, and present a chance to positively influence others’ lives.

Woman standing in a field of yellow flowers


If it’s easy for you and in your budget then just some days away from the daily toil of life, ideally in hot, sunny, or even just a warmer and brighter weather can have a huge influence on your overall state of life. Stutland says, “Vacations to warmer climates allow you to regain perspective and reconnect to the warmth and light you’re craving.” She adds, “It doesn’t have to be extravagant or costly and there are always great deals on the Internet for weekend trips to all-inclusive resorts.” Your mental health is deserving of this investment if you can afford it.

Person writing something in a diary


When SAD kicks in, your feelings and emotions tend to distort towards the negative. You may have a swarm of positive activities during the day. Nevertheless, you can still end up concentrating and even obsessing about the one negative thing that happened. This is the reason why many counselors use cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT.

CBT gives effective, goal-oriented ways that help patients understand and reduce unhelpful thinking patterns and behaviors that keep them clasped in a perpetual cycle of depression.

Woman standing in the light of sun


Light has the power to transform our biological swings and hormonal stability, our moods, and energy levels. There is also evidence that therapy, respectively light therapy, can boost the effectiveness of medication regimens and that various wavelengths of light influence our brains in several ways.  Stutland says, “Lately, I’ve been using a Philips Blue Light in the morning for about 20 to 30 minutes, which uses LED smart bulbs to simulate natural light, whether it be crisp white light reminding you of a spring breeze, the warm white light of a summer sun, or the ice cool daylight of winter.”

She adds, “Researchers believe this type of light causes a chemical change in the brain that lifts your mood and eases other symptoms of SAD.”

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