How to Cope with SAD... The Newest Layer of the 2020 **** Sandwich
Updated: Nov 18
On top of the expected increases in COVID cases as well as the seasonal flu this winter, there is also the ever-looming potential for many of SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder, especially for people living in the North US and Canada and/or in a home without a lot of outside light exposure, people with genetic predispositions for Major Depression and Bipolar Disorder, and women (women are 4 times more likely to experience SAD than their male counterparts). Many people experience significant shifts in mood and energy when the days get shorter, and the social isolation we are living in will certainly not help.
In today’s blog post, we will talk about how to best stave off and/or mitigate the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.
First, invest in a light therapy box and use it for 30- 60 minutes first thing in the morning. They are relatively inexpensive and studies show that THEY WORK! Early morning light exposure, especially, will help reset your body clock/maintain your body’s natural circadian rhythms, giving you more energy throughout the day, as well as keeping your body on a consistent waking and sleeping clock. Our favorite one for the value is made by Miroco.
Secondly, don’t have your lightbox be the only sun you are getting! Get natural sunlight during the day, even if you are just taking a quick walk around the block during your lunch break, will help your body get that needed vitamin D, and is great for your body to register in the middle of the day.
It is also important to stick to a regular waking, sleeping, and eating schedule to help synchronize your biological clock. Even when feeling lazy, try to keep consistent plans to see friends while keeping social distancing recommendations in mind (for more ideas on how to be social in quarantine, read our past blog post) . Humans are social creatures, and you will be surprised how meaningful time with friends, and a consistent, healthy routine will help with any tendencies of SAD.
Lastly, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be helpful in identifying and changing one’s own negative thoughts and behaviors. Here is a link to Talkspace to connect with a professional skilled in CBT.
While the expectations for this year’s SAD may seem overwhelming, with help from therapies like the ones you can find above, you'll absolutely get through it. And always remember, seasonal affective disorder is well, seasonal. Spring will come again. :)
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