Most of us know the feeling. The days get shorter, the weather gets colder, and we just can’t seem to get motivated. For some, this time of year can be especially difficult. Known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), this type of depression typically arrives in the fall or winter then goes away in the spring. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, there are plenty of things you can do to help treat SAD and the winter blues. Here are five ideas to get started.
- Get outside and get some fresh air:
Walking outside for even 20 or 30 minutes can make a big difference.
- Exercise regularly:
Exercise is a powerful way to fight depression. Even just 15 minutes a day can be beneficial.
- Eat healthy foods:
An ‘anti-depression diet’ looks similar to other diets: minimize junk food, eat more veggies, and avoid long fasting periods. Beyond incorporating healthier foods, limit consumption of alcohol and caffeine.
- Get enough sleep:
Consistent sleep times, a bedtime routine (including turning off screens one hour before bed), and a cool, quiet, and dark room can help.
- Take breaks during the day to relax and rejuvenate:
Taking frequent breaks can reduce stress. Step away to move your body, eat a nourishing meal, or chat with a friend or co-worker.
While the steps above all look simple, we know that when someone is suffering from depression things don’t feel simple. If depressive symptoms persist or worsen, psychotherapy and medication may be beneficial in addition to these 5 tips above.