By Pastor Brad Hoefs
As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, many people start to feel the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). If you are someone who struggles with SAD, it’s important to start preparing now for the dark days of winter. By taking steps to boost your mood and manage your symptoms, you can make it through the season feeling happier and healthier. In this post, we’ll share five tips for preparing for winter with SAD.
1. Get outside while you can: While it’s still relatively mild outside, make an effort to get outside and soak up some sunlight each day. Going for a walk, sitting on a park bench or eating lunch outside can all help boost your mood and give you a dose of much-needed vitamin D. As the days get shorter, it can be difficult to get enough sunlight, so try to make the most of it while you still can.
2. Invest in a light therapy lamp: Light therapy lamps are a popular option for those with SAD. These lamps mimic natural sunlight and can help regulate your body’s circadian rhythm, which can become disrupted during the winter months. Using a light therapy lamp for just 30 minutes a day can make a big difference in your mood and energy levels.
3. Make time for self-care: When the weather is cold and dreary, it can be easy to neglect your self-care routine. But it’s more important than ever to prioritize your mental health during this time. Make time for activities that you enjoy, whether that’s getting a massage, taking a hot bath, or reading a good book. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something that makes you feel happy and relaxed.
4. Stay social: Winter can be a lonely time, especially for those with SAD. To combat this, try to stay social and maintain your connections with friends and family. Plan regular get-togethers or activities that you enjoy, whether that’s going to the movies, having a dinner party or going out for brunch. Spending time with people you care about can boost your mood and keep you feeling connected.
5. Consider talking to a therapist: Finally, if you’re struggling with SAD, don’t hesitate to reach out for professional help. Talking to a therapist can give you the tools and support you need to manage your symptoms and feel better. They may recommend other treatments, such as medication or cognitive-behavioral therapy.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of another long, dark winter when you have SAD. But by taking proactive steps to care for yourself and manage your symptoms, you can make it through the season feeling happier and healthier. Whether it’s getting outside, investing in a light therapy lamp, or making time for self-care and socializing, there are many things you can do to prepare for winter with SAD. If you’re struggling, remember that you don’t have to go through this alone. Reach out for help and support, and remember that spring will be here before you know it.