Change in the seasons can inspire us, make our hearts happy, but also can trigger a change in mood, including the onset of a form of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Symptoms like nostalgia, sadness, depression, trouble waking up in the morning, especially when is still dark are often caused by Mother Nature and start around October and end up around April. If you are one the people who experience SAD , you are not alone. Every year one of four people go through some degree of this biological change. I am one of them.
Small lifestyle changes may help boost your spirit and bring your life to a some degree of a balance.
- Playing or listening to music may boost the effects of conventional treatment. Learn how to play an instrument, for example, allows depressed people to express themselves nonverbally when they can’t easily talk about how they feel. Listening to soothing music helps others relax so they’re better able to let go of feelings that are troubling.
- Surround yourself with bright colors. Choosing the right colors can impact subliminally and positively on the subconscious minds. Discover the world of colors and dive into it. This experience can enrich our emotions, our relationships and our lives.
- Treat Depression With Art. Art Therapy is often used to help treat depression. Through creative expression, painting, woodworking, sewing, scrapbooking, and many other forms of Art are used to treat those experiencing depression. It offers a therapeutic effect, building self esteem and empowering self healing. It is liberating to express yourself by using creative talents through painting, drawing and other forms of Art. Art therapy has been found to have a positive impact on treating depression. Becoming completely involved in expressing creativity helps lift depression, therefore, offers healing. Join a art studio group, learn new artistic skills, get involved in art and crafts shows 9not only a good source of extra income but an opportunity to meet people with similar interests.
- Help others. Ladling out soup at the local shelter or volunteering your time can improve mental health and life satisfaction.
- Be creative in the kitchen. Eat healthy food. Enrich your food with fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, rainbow trout), fish oils (like cod liver oil), fortified milk and egg yolks to supply sources of vitamin D. Also, part of the reason people with SAD crave carbohydrates may be due to decreased serotonin activity. Carbohydrates promote the production of serotonin, a feel-good brain chemical. Good snacking choices include popcorn, pretzels, shredded wheat squares or low-fat biscotti. Make dinner with carbohydrate-containing meal. That’s because evening is usually the time when the symptoms of SAD are at their strongest. Eating healthier carbs, like lentils, brown rice and potatoes, may help fight that urge to snack on cookies.
- Make your environment brighter. When your body is craving more daylight, sitting next to an artificial light for 30 minutes first thing in the morning can be as effective as antidepressant medication. Sensitivity to the lack of sunlight that results from winter’s “shorter” days and disrupts our circadian rhythm, or internal body clock. That’s about 30 minutes of exposure done first thing in the morning.
- Practice meditation. The focus of mindfulness meditation is to train the brain to stay in the moment. Science continues to reveal that an active practice has important health benefits.
I hope some of the suggestions will help you in achieving the balance during your winter blues. Let me know what you think or share you ideas with me.