3 Tips to Help Fight SAD
1. Try a light-therapy box. Light-therapy boxes may offer an effective treatment for SAD. Light therapy mimics outdoor light, which causes a biochemical change in your brain that lifts your mood and reduces symptoms. Light therapy boxes are also known as light boxes, bright-light therapy boxes and phototherapy boxes.
You can buy a light-therapy box over-the-counter, without a doctor’s prescription. Internet retailers, drugstores and even some hardware stores offer a wide variety of light-therapy boxes and other light devices. But take caution before buying: Not all light-therapy boxes being sold have been tested to make sure they’re safe and effective. Features such as light intensity, safety, cost and style are important considerations when you buy one. And different light boxes work in different ways, using different parts of the light spectrum and offering varying illumination intensities. That’s why it’s important to understand what you’re buying and what features to consider. To find the best light-therapy box for you, be sure to talk with your health professional!
2. Exercise regularly. Physical exercise helps relieve stress and anxiety, both of which can increase SAD symptoms. Being more fit, along with keeping your weight in check, will make you feel better about yourself, which lifts your mood. Working out aerobically will make your body pump out feel-good endorphins, which are your body’s best mood elevators (or natural anti-depressants).
3. Get outside and get 30 minutes of sun every day. Listen, I know that when it’s cold outside all you may want to do is stay inside. However, bundling up for a 30-minute walk will let the sun shine bright on your face, burn calories and make your body pump those endorphins. Try holding 2-pound dumbbells in your hands to involve your upper core, shoulders and arms.
Doing this will increase your calorie burn by 33 percent! Or try snowshoeing or Nordic walking by adding ski poles, as you’ll also work your entire upper body and, again, burn 33 percent more calories. I promise you’ll feel so much better and invigorated after your walk outside. Recruit a walking buddy to talk it out, too, and lift your mood.
Do you find your mood drops in winter? How do you perk it up? —Jenn