How to deal with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

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    Nov 11, 2013 10:18 PM GMT
    Don't Let SAD Make You Too Sad!

    By Bronwyn Harris

    Seasonal affective disorder, also known as winter depression or SAD, is a form of depression that is often triggered by shorter days, cold weather, and lack of sunshine or natural light. Seasonal affective disorder can be quite serious and if so, should be treated by a doctor. However, for those who are suffering from a milder version of it, there are some concrete steps that can be taken to feel better even though the weather hasn't changed.

    Get evaluated for depression. First of all, if you are suffering from depression, don't wait. See a doctor immediately. He or she may prescribe antidepressants - even just for the winter season. Depression can be paralyzing and is not something to be taken lightly!

    Try light therapy. Light boxes are full spectrum lamps that can mimic the effects of sunshine. Often, people suffering from SAD find that just 30-60 minutes a day in front of their light box makes them feel much better. You do not need a prescription to buy a light box, and many companies are now selling full spectrum light bulbs for your regular light fixtures as well!

    Take Vitamin D. Vitamin D is produced by our bodies when we are in the sun. During the winter, vitamin D levels in our bodies drop, which may contribute to seasonal affective disorder. Be careful not to take more than 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day.

    Practice yoga. It is not fully understood, but for some reason, yoga seems to help many people stabilize their mood in the winter. Going to a regular yoga class or practicing yoga at home might help you deal with SAD.

    Get outside during daylight hours. Even if it is cold and overcast, some natural light is better than none. It can be difficult to get any natural light during the winter, because the days are so short, but it is important in dealing with seasonal affective disorder. Even a quick walk during your lunch break at work can help lift your mood.

    Get moving! Exercise has been found to help most forms of mild depression. It can be difficult to begin an excercise program if you are dealing with seasonal affective disorder, so don't be afraid to ask for help. Talk. As with any form of depression, even mild depression, you need emotional support if you are dealing with SAD. A therapist may be helpful, but close friends can also help just by being around.

    Talk. As with any form of depression, even mild depression, you need emotional support if you are dealing with SAD. A therapist may be helpful, but close friends can also help just by being around.

    It is very common to have a depressed mood to some extent during the winter. However, if you find that seasonal affective disorder is interfering with work or school, or your personal relationships, or if you are not able to get out of bed or feel like harming yourself, get professional help immediately.
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    Nov 12, 2013 3:26 AM GMT
    Horray! Good to see this. SAD is always an issue up where I'm from in Alaska, and it's good to see a topic offering some of the solutions to problems individuals really do face. There have been several times when folks down here in Texasland have asked me "is it true people get depressed?" "isn't the suicide rate really high cause of the darkness?" Hell, some people tell me that it isn't possible: "it's just a bit of darkness, SAD isn't a real thing."

    So good on you for sharing this, Andrew! Keep shining those Happy Lights, and keep chewing on those delicious lemon flavored Vitamin D supplements, folks!
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    Nov 12, 2013 3:28 AM GMT
    I definitely have this issue thanks for the tips. Winters make me depressed . Thats why relocating
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    Nov 12, 2013 3:58 AM GMT
    It's hormonal so get 10 minutes of sun a day. Do 3 sets of dips every other day.
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    Nov 12, 2013 4:05 AM GMT
    I like to paint the space I'm living in warm bright golden colors. Makes the room seem bigger and more summery, all year long. Anything that makes me happy goes up as a decoration too. Well almost anything.
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    Nov 12, 2013 4:10 AM GMT
    woodsmen saidUse incandescent light not florescence.

    I've replaced all of my CFLs with LEDs. Hopefully they'll pay off.
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    Nov 12, 2013 4:14 AM GMT
    I can't wait until there's a pill to cure loneliness.
    Then there'll be a pill to replace pain of any sort.
    Then maybe come there will be a pill to replace life itself
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    Nov 12, 2013 4:49 AM GMT

    I like to listen to these for many reasons. A need for sleep and an RJ'ers post last year about ASMR led me to these. icon_biggrin.gif
  • somedaytoo

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    Nov 12, 2013 4:56 AM GMT
    I always plan a winter getaway. Well, at least until I can get out of New England.
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    Nov 12, 2013 8:29 AM GMT
    _JRQ said
    I like to listen to these for many reasons. A need for sleep and an RJ'ers post last year about ASMR led me to these. icon_biggrin.gif


    Uhm, i don't think it works on me; it's making my heart race! icon_eek.gif
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    Nov 12, 2013 10:11 AM GMT
    [quote][cite]Lumpyoatmeal said[/cite]
    woodsmen saidUse incandescent light not florescence.

    I've replaced all of my CFLs with LEDs. Hopefully they'll pay off.[/quot


    Sorry it won't. White LED's are actually the same as fluorescent lights . LED 's don't produce white light yet. White LED's are really an ultra violet source exciting a phosphor coating just like a fluorescent light.
  • stratavos

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    Nov 12, 2013 12:26 PM GMT
    you don't have to do yoga, any exercise will do (extra gym time included). I've been finding myself more affected by SAD as of the last few years.
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    Nov 12, 2013 4:00 PM GMT
    [quote][cite]stratavos said[/cite]you don't have to do yoga, any exercise will do (extra gym time included). I've been finding myself more affected by SAD as of the last few years. [/quote

    I wonder if heavy squats specifically target SAD? They have the biggest hormonal effect but a guy I know that specially works with depression with yoga focuses on the chest "opening" exercises.
  • FireDoor211

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    Nov 13, 2013 1:50 AM GMT
    I found St. John's wort provided me substantial relief and kept me on an even keel all year long. Sufferers should consider it as it actually helps to heal what is causing the depression. Taking anti depressants is like taking Tylenol for a headache, it just helps you ignore the symptoms and doesn't really heal you.

    I'll second the light therapy and yoga. Both are excellent for SAD
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    Nov 13, 2013 11:47 PM GMT
    If it is really bad, you should consider moving to a sunnier part of the country. Florida's southern most areas are almost in the tropics and have a lot of hours of daylight in the winters.
  • FireDoor211

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    Nov 14, 2013 2:08 PM GMT
    Alpha13 said[quote][cite]stratavos said[/cite]you don't have to do yoga, any exercise will do (extra gym time included). I've been finding myself more affected by SAD as of the last few years. [/quote

    I wonder if heavy squats specifically target SAD? They have the biggest hormonal effect but a guy I know that specially works with depression with yoga focuses on the chest "opening" exercises.


    The reason Yoga helps is because in a few of the poses you are inverted allowing more blood to flow to the brain. I imagine squats could have a similar impact.
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    Nov 14, 2013 11:10 PM GMT
    i take Vit D supplements.
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    Nov 15, 2013 2:30 PM GMT
    First world problem
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    Nov 15, 2013 3:08 PM GMT
    Sex helps…

    tumblr_lpqri9ZDs31r1q1lho1_500.jpg
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    Nov 16, 2013 5:14 PM GMT
    As crazy as it sounds, aside from the light lamp that you can buy to fight SAD, I find tanning is an excellent way to boost your Vit D and feel like you are still getting some sun. For me, it outweighs the risks associated with skin cancer, but I do know of professionals who have recommended tanning as a part of therapy.
  • FireDoor211

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    Nov 16, 2013 5:50 PM GMT
    Jetsbacker saidAs crazy as it sounds, aside from the light lamp that you can buy to fight SAD, I find tanning is an excellent way to boost your Vit D and feel like you are still getting some sun. For me, it outweighs the risks associated with skin cancer, but I do know of professionals who have recommended tanning as a part of therapy.



    Actually, this is a great point. I do this alot around January, and it ususally gets me through to the next summer.
  • memphis

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    Nov 26, 2013 5:03 AM GMT
    Living in a hot and sunny climate, I have the opposite problem. Summers make me angry. The sun is too bright and intense, and the heat is unbearable. The antidote is San Francisco. It's magical in August!
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    Nov 26, 2013 5:07 AM GMT
    memphis saidLiving in a hot and sunny climate, I have the opposite problem. Summers make me angry. The sun is too bright and intense, and the heat is unbearable. The antidote is San Francisco. It's magical in August!


    San Francisco is magical all year long!
  • JArking

    Posts: 139

    Nov 27, 2013 12:54 AM GMT
    I went to San Fran a couple of years ago during the winter. Being up here in Vancouver I needed a bit of a break and it was the perfect temperature to lift my spirits a little and get through.

    I have a sun lamp, pills, and occasionally an active lifestyle to combat periods when I feel depressed in the off season so these are really great recommendations. I would only add that a good dose of group company/activity now and then helps.
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    Nov 27, 2013 1:07 AM GMT
    I take Wellbutrin every day and recently added a vitamin D supplement in anticipation of this yearly issue for me.