The Big SAD: How to Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder

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Winter is fun … at least for a little. We get to pull out our big collection of hoodies, drink some tea or hot chocolate and have a snow battle on HUB lawn. But as the gray days drag on and you see less and less greenery and sunlight you may start to feel down or even depressed — which is okay! You are not alone in how you are feeling. This phenomenon of feeling sad around different seasons of the year is actually a mood disorder called seasonal affective disorder or SAD (you can see the obvious irony there). SAD usually occurs around times of the year when there is less sunlight. You may be experiencing SAD if you experience fatigue, depression and/or social withdrawal. VALLEY is here to help you take care of yourself and battle the big SAD. 

Shed some light on the subject

Mayo Clinic shares that light therapy is one of the first treatments for SAD. Light therapy is exposing yourself to bright light when you first wake up. They use a special light called a light box that you can purchase which mimics natural light. This causes your brain chemicals to change and release some more of that good serotonin. Maybe light boxes are the new ring light?!

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“Pushing P” by going to therapy

Whether it’s online websites like BetterHelp, in-person at CAPS or a local therapy clinic, therapy can be very beneficial. Through therapy, you can talk out what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling that way. You can also learn how to manage your stress and healthy ways to cope with SAD. You could even start out by just talking with a friend or any trusted loved one. Of course, this is easier said than done but opening up is definitely P. 

Gorgeous, gorgeous people make healthy habits

With SAD, it’s a good idea to make some healthy lifestyle changes to improve your mood. Mayo Clinic says that even without a light box, it’s good to make your environment brighter. That means turn on the lights, open those shades and sit closer to the window. It might also help to crank up some feel-good throwbacks and clean up a little to make your space more pleasurable to be in. Also, getting outside and exercising regularly can increase serotonin. Now this one is more difficult— try to normalize your sleep schedule. This means going to bed and waking up around the same time each day and making sure you’re getting adequate sleep. Yes, you can still go dance in that blazing hot frat basement, but just make sure you get your beauty sleep after. 

VALLEY wants you to enjoy winter and all the excitement that can come along with it which is hard to do when experiencing SAD. These helpful tips and tricks may be your key to finally feeling like you can take on winter and thrive this dark season (instead of just surviving). 

Do you have any tips to make the SADness go away? Tweet us @VALLEYmag or leave a comment below!



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