The winter’s low temperatures, high winds, and lack of sunlight lead some people to want to curl up on their couches all day and refuse to leave their homes. If you feel like this every winter, or if your symptoms are so severe that they impact your daily life, you may have seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Talk to your primary care provider about your concerns so you can combat the issue with clinical help. In the meantime, here are a few simple strategies for keeping mild to moderate symptoms at bay.
3 Tips for Coping With Seasonal Affective Disorder
1. Use a Light Box
During phototherapy, also known as light therapy, you sit near a specialized light box at the start of each day. These devices mimic natural light, stimulating the production of various brain chemicals that boost mood.
While you don't need a prescription to purchase a light box, it’s wise to ask your primary care provider for a recommendation so you end up with a device that’s both effective and safe.
2. Get Outside
Some people with SAD don’t feel like spending time outside, but it’s helpful to combat symptoms. Exposure to natural light—especially within an hour or two of waking up—can elevate mood and boost energy for the rest of the day.
Spending time outdoors has also been proven to make people feel well-rested. As feelings of depression may cause sleep deprivation, this is an added benefit for those with SAD.
It’s not uncommon for people with the winter blues to isolate themselves. While socializing can feel like a chore when you face symptoms of depression, it's worth the effort. Interacting with friends and loved ones promotes feelings of peace and contentment.
To combine benefits, plan outdoor activities with your friends, such as skiing, ice fishing, or hiking.
If you’re seeking medication to further combat your seasonal affective disorder, turn to the friendly primary care team at Patients First Medical Clinic to discuss your symptoms. Located in Anchorage, AK, this full-service practice is backed by more than 150 years of combined experience. From mental health disorders to diabetes, their providers are equipped to address all kinds of conditions. To learn more about their state-of-the-art facility, visit their website. To make an appointment, call (907) 333-7425.