If your mood ever seems to drop during the fall and winter months, then you likely suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The main symptom is that you often feel depressed when the seasons change from summer to fall. You only get back to your cheerier self in the spring months. This technically leaves you in depression for half of the year. This can severely affect your mental health. Fortunately, there are several solutions available.
Experiencing Traditional Therapy
The usual approach to handling depression is to undergo traditional therapy. Working with an experienced psychiatrist can help you handle your depressive thoughts. Cognitive-behavioural therapy can be a big help for people who want to handle their depression better. This therapy allows you to identify thoughts and behaviors that make you feel bad. Recognizing these negative elements in your life allows you to handle them better and even avoid them. Your therapist can also teach you strategies on taking care of your mental health better.
Undergoing Light Therapy
A unique approach to SAD is the use of light therapy. Researchers point out that natural light has a natural anti-depressive effect. Some of them link this to the surge of vitamin D, and the hormone melatonin that is released from this therapy. This therapy's idea is for people suffering from SAD to experience sessions where they are exposed to light from health lamps and other artificial sources. The light is usually 20 times brighter than natural lighting. Participants only need exposure and don't even need to look at the light. The sessions start at 15 minutes and take longer every day until they reach 45 minutes. This therapy is usually done early in the fall and is found to be very effective at alleviating some depression.
People can also take medication to better handle depression. The problem with SAD is that it affects people over a long period. Fortunately, some medicines can handle it better. Therapists can prescribe bupropion, using the extended-release version. This can affect a SAD sufferer for a longer period than normal and prevent depressive episodes. Since you know when you will be suffering from depression, you can start taking the antidepressants well before the symptoms start.
Improving Your Mental Balance
Another way to handle SAD is by better handling your mental balance. You can do so by starting to meditate and moving towards a less-stressful life during the fall and winter months. Cutting down on work and focusing on me-time can do a lot in fighting back depression. If you are self-employed, avoid overloading work during these seasons. Additionally, meditation can help in relieving any stress that develops. You can also try to start yoga and other relaxation exercises. You can also try socializing a bit more to help with the loneliness of the season.
A Healthier Lifestyle
Your physical condition can also help a lot in making you feel better. Go out and do some exercise. It helps keep the endorphins up. Additionally, it helps expose you to the sun so that you get a bit of light therapy.
While you can try to tough out your depression, it can be an uphill battle. It is much better to do it with as much help as possible. With the right approach, you should handle your SAD so that it won't affect your life so much. This allows you to enjoy your life better and so that you can worry your loved ones less. Combine multiple coping methods so that you can better appreciate your life and face the darker parts of the year with a positive outlook.