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Seasonal Affective Disorder is snow joke! SAD is the depression associated with late autumn and winter and thought to be caused by a lack of light. It’s estimated that 10 million people suffer from SAD, and it is more common in women than in men. Not everyone with SAD has the same symptoms, but common symptoms of winter depression can be hopelessness and sadness, hypersomnia or a tendency to oversleep, a change in appetite, especially a craving for sweet or starchy foods, a drop in energy level, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. Try these tips on those dark and gloomy days to boost your mood and get you motivated.

Get outside and stay active.

You might think that hibernating the whole winter away will make you feel better, but it will actually make your SAD worse. Staying active with exercise or even just spending time outdoors can help your mood immensely. Plus, there’s always something to do outside!

Don’t ONLY eat comfort food.

Pizza, mac and cheese, cinnamon rolls, these are all comfort foods that are designed to make you feel better, but not in this case. Stuffing yourself with sugar and flour will make you feel even grosser than you already do. Try eating more complex carbs. They take longer to digest and don’t cause spikes in blood sugar, they also increase levels of serotonin in the brain. Try munching on sweet potatoes, lentils, zucchini, beans, spinach and skim milk.

Take your vitamins, especially vitamins D and C.

Low levels of vitamin D are being linked by experts as a major contributing factor for SAD. Take the recommended dose on your bottle of supplements and you may just see a difference in your mood. Vitamin C will also boost your immune system during cold season.

Make your environment sunnier and brighter.

Open your curtains and let the light in! SAD is said to be caused by the lack of light we receive in the colder months, so let in as much sunshine as you can.

Stay social.

Get your squad together and do something fun! Staying social is key in combating SAD. Who has time to feel bad when you have your friends to help pick you up?

Make your bed every day.

It might seem silly, but accomplishing something small in the morning can set the tone for the whole rest of your day. Make your bed up night and pretty, it will also help you from crawling back in too soon.

Invest in a sun lamp.

Light therapy has been reported to work in 80% of cases of SAD, and some studies have found that sitting in front of a light box for 30 minutes every morning can be super effective. I found this one for around $40 on Amazon, check it out!

If your symptoms are persistent, visit a doctor.

Don’t just dismiss SAD as “the winter blues” if you feel your symptoms just won’t let up. There’s no shame in seeing a doctor about your symptoms.