8 ways to avoid SAD this winter
Spreading some light on SAD
As the days grow shorter for those in the Northern Hemisphere, lowering temperatures and diminished sunlight hours may cause problems that even the snuggest knitted jumper will fail to solve. If you’re feeling down, before brushing it off as the Winter Blues, you may wish to consider that you are being affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder, otherwise known as SAD. Fatigue, depression, irritability, lack of concentration, insomnia and decreased activity level are just some of the challenges that sufferers of SAD face. Even mildly experiencing these symptoms can be extremely difficult to overcome. SAD is sometimes considered a mysterious disorder with no cure. However, there are some very simple techniques for reducing the horrible emotional symptoms, and of course prevention is always the best cure. With a little determination and preparation, you may find this winter to be your most joyous yet.
From SAD to Happy: 8 Ways to Cure your SAD
1. Get Prepared
Prevention is always better than cure. If you know that you suffer during the darker months, start with some remedial tricks early on. Being prepared before the lethargy takes over will make it much easier to stop your mood from mirroring the bleak winter weather. Check out the points below and act now where applicable: don’t wait until you’re too blue to care.
2. When the Sun is out, go get some
You’ve got a job to keep, a family to care for and probably a million other reasons why you can’t possibly just get up and go outside every single time the sun pops out! But if you understood just how valuable direct contact with the sun’s rays are to preventing SAD, you just might make the effort a little more. While it may be tempting to hibernate indoors, SAD has been shown to relate more to lack of daylight than the cooler temperatures. If you can see the sun, get outside, even if it’s just for 20 minutes. Remember, the sun’s heat is thermal heat and can actually be stored inside the body for days, so top-up on any sunlight or heat from the sun you can get.
You might want to go the next step and do some investigating on Sun Gazing, also known as the HMR Phenomenon involves staring at the sun briefly during sunrise or sunset every day. Approved by NASA as a way to improve life quality, it’s worth researching if you don’t already know about it.
3. Sublingual Vitamin D
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) a shocking ¼ of the population is Vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to dozens of serious illnesses from schizophrenia to cancer, and unquestionably depression. Since the body need exposure to the Sun to make sufficient Vitamin D and SAD occurs at the time of year with the least amount of sun exposure: it’s no wonder that Vitamin D deficiency and SAD have been so closely linked. So, get smart with supplementation! Sublingual (taken under the tongue) Vitamin D is more quickly absorbed by the body and gets to work fast, making them more potent than those taken orally. Vitamin D deficiency can take from 4-6 weeks to stabilize through supplementation so start now. Quality is key, so be sure to take vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol). This is the type of Vitamin D we get from sun exposure, as opposed to Vitamin D2.
4. Far Infrared Therapy. Heat up from the inside
You may have indulged in a traditional sauna before but have you heard about the amazing benefits of Far Infrared? The heater in this type of sauna emits infrared rays, which constitute the same energy as the sun. The rays penetrate your body and get into your tissues, warming you from the inside out. This stimulates detoxifying sweat benefiting the mind and body. Perfect for SAD sufferers.
5. If you can’t get to the beach, imagine you’re there
Cellular biologist Bruce Lipton, PhD., is one of the leading authorities on how emotions can regulate genetic expression, explained in-depth in his excellent books The Biology of Belief, and Spontaneous Evolution. In his work, Lipton reveals that the perception of your environment can affect the cells of your physical body. This means your neurons won’t know the difference between feeling happy basking in the sun and you imagining you are happy and basking in the sun. So if you’re feeling blue and dreaming of warmer climes: shut your eyes, sit in a warm quiet place and quite literally image yourself soaking up glorious warm sunlight while catching a warm breeze while walking along your favorite beach. Do this once a day all winter long and get those happy neurons firing! Or, if you want a helping hand, head over to meditainment.com and be transported to the tropics. Goodbye SAD, hello island paradise!
6. Full-spectrum light bulbs, worth the investment
Bring outside light indoors with full-spectrum light bulbs. These bulbs mimic natural daylight thanks to a full color spectrum (all the visible colors of the rainbow!) plus infrared and ultraviolet wavelengths. Make sure the bulbs you purchase are top quality to feel the full benefits of indoor sunshine. An excellent option is the Mercola Healthy Home full-spectrum light bulbs.
7. Eat yourself happy
Sadly, I’m not talking about tacos and margaritas. The symptoms of SAD include: a tendency to overeat, a craving for carbohydrates and weight gain. Rather than give in to these cravings, eat consciously and make sure to avoid processed foods and most importantly refined sugars. A healthy diet will naturally boost your energy and mood, giving you a fighting chance in combatting symptoms of SAD and getting through the colder months. Processed foods, sugars or “treats” only exaggerate the sadness and make it harder to dig yourself out of. If you feel you are unable to stop eating sweets, get yourself on a (season appropriate) detox programme! Don’t forget to keep up with the Omega 3 fatty acids in your diet at every opportunity.
8. If you can, GO SOUTH!
Even if it’s just for a weekend, a trip to warmer climates could be in order. Remember that the effects will last long after you return to the dark and cold. This will give you something to look forward to, (or visualising in your mediations) and who doesn’t love planning a holiday? Cost-wise, if you add it up, happiness from the SUN is always a good investment. Better vibes = better life.
Mental health is an endlessly fascinating conversation, one that is evolving as we grow in our understanding of cognitive psychology and Neuroscience. Depression is a disabling condition impairing all aspects of human function and not one to be taken lightly which is why it’s so important to actively keep our emotional lives in optimal health. We should always remember (and remind each other) that it’s never brave to suffer in silence and simply reaching out to a loved one (or professional if necessary) is really the warrior approach to wellness and happiness.