5 ways to protect yourself against seasonal affective disorder.


Winter is here. Which for many people means the doldrums, the blahs, the gray sky-induced depression is kicking in. Winter (plus the holidays) can lead to a major mood sink in the form of Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s a real thing that affects a lot of folks.

But just because SAD usually gets you down doesn’t mean you have to fall prey to it this year. There are ways to help protect yourself against seasonal affective disorder,so you can feel a little happier as winter makes its way into your life: snow, cold, icicles and all. Or in Miami, lower humidity and tradewinds. Whatevs. 😉

5. Exercise.
Ok, so this is my number one (or at least in the top five) recommendation for curing almost any ill. But it’s true you guys, exercise is like a miracle drug. Try to do it outside, if you can. But if snow and cold get in the way, do it in the gym, in your living room, in your bedroom … whatever works! Just move your body, even when you don’t feel like it. Even when you wanna hibernate in bed all day. Even when you can’t stand the thought of your fingers and toes freezing up or your nose running or your ears getting all frostylike. JUST MOVE. Find a way to move.

4. Soak up the sun.
If you don’t live in Miami or somewhere else that’s south of the equator, you may be facing a severely diminished amount of sunlight on a daily basis. But there’s always SOME sunlight, and you can chase it like a good little Greyhound. When the sun peeks its little yellow head out, follow it. Take a walk, open all the blinds, sit on the patio where the sun can shine down on you. Light therapy is also an option. You can buy bulbs that replicate natural light and specially designed devices.

3. Upgrade your social life.
Lots of people tend to hibernate during the winter months, but to feel better, you’ve gotta do just the opposite. Instead of curling up in bed every evening, find excuses to get out of the house. Plan get-togethers with friends, go to events, try MeetUps or other ways of meeting new people. Just socialize as much as possible. We know from research that strong social bonds make us feel better, and we can’t let that slide just because it’s cold outside. The warmth of friendship is one of the best ways to keep out the winter chills. 😉

2. Get up early.
While it may be tempting to sleep in on weekends, and stay snuggled up in your cozy bed, you’ll almost ALWAYS feel better when you get up and do something semi-productive (even if productive just means reading a book on a park bench or getting gluttonous over brunch with friends). It’s also important to keep your sleep schedule consistent — try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day despite the dark skies that might suggest otherwise.

1. Take pleasure in the little things.
Despite its downsides, there are lots of wonderful aspects to winter, too. From newly fallen snow (it’s so pretty before it has to be shoveled!) to holiday parties to time off work for seasonal pursuits, there’s plenty to appreciate … IF you stop and pay attention. Now’s as good a time as any to start your gratitude journal. Use it to keep track of anything and everything you can be thankful for. On my list? Christmas-flavored Chapstick, Starbucks Peppermint Mochas, vegan holiday roasts (Gardein, how I adore you), time spent with my family and lots of other stuff. Because fueling my happiness fire helps keep the seasonal blues at bay, and I’m thankful for that. <3


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