Preventing episodes of SAD

If you're affected by SAD, what can you do to duck the depression? Here are some things that can help.

Daily exercise
Regular physical activity helps fight fatigue and depression, especially if you exercise during the day or near light sources. Keep in mind that outdoor light, even when the sky is overcast, is often brighter than light boxes, so an hour spent outside during the day can help ease symptoms of SAD and prevent episodes of depression. Find an outdoor hobby that you can enjoy throughout the winter months such as skating, skiing, or walking.

Seek the sun
Even during the winter months, go outside as often as possible. Even weak sunlight and light reflected off snow can increase your exposure to light and help ease symptoms of SAD. Arrange your home and office to maximize your exposure to light, and look for sunlit windows for reading, eating, or working.

Be aware of your moods
Self-awareness can alleviate some of the feelings of distress during these seasons. Be aware of your moods and energy level and attempt to maintain perspective. But remember that SAD is not your fault. It is a medical condition that can be treated. Check with your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of SAD.

You're not alone
SAD is still not fully understood, but statistics indicate that about 2% to 3% of the general population suffers from this type of depression. If you are experiencing feelings that are greater than mild depression, do not be afraid to ask for help. Talk to your friends, your family, and your doctor. Using your support network can help decrease your feelings of isolation or depression.

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