Beat seasonal depression this winter with these tips!

With the changing weather, a common mental health disorder that emerges within people is the Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as Seasonal Depression. These fluctuations in your neurotransmitter levels can create issues for a lot of people in terms of behavior, productivity and even sometimes physical health. But fret not, these remedies can help you regulate your body’s happy chemicals and improve your mental health significantly during these times!

  1. Eat foods with serotonin and dopamine!
    A number of neurochemicals work together to ensure your mental well-being, including serotonin, dopamine, GABA and endorphins. Taking a diet which contains these chemicals can help improve how you feel, and also make you healthier! Foods that contain serotonin include bananas, fish, eggs, sesame seeds and turkey. Brown rice, avocados, spinach and beans also contain neurotransmitters that can help make you feel better mentally.

  2. Be active!
    Engaging yourself in regular exercise, even if for short periods of time, can significantly increase the endorphins in your body, thereby improving your mood. Exercising will also help you prevent the weight gain that typically accompanies Seasonal Affective Disorder. You can take a brisk walk, go cycling, or even do light stretches at home.

  3. Give light therapy a try
    Light therapy is a common treatment administered to SAD patients, wherein the person is exposed simulation of natural light for a certain amount of time in order to restore neurotransmitter levels and elevate their mood.

  4. Build a routine
    Constructing an organized daily life will help you feel purposeful and keep you occupied throughout the day in order to avoid negative thinking patterns. Maintaining a healthy sleep cycle will also help you regulate your physical and mental health.

  5. Find an outlet for your emotions
    Your emotions need a vent every now and then in order to relieve your brain of the burden. This can be done in several ways. You can keep a journal and write them down in order to let it out in a private and personal way, or you can confide in trusted people around you to get how you feel off your chest. It is particularly good to vent your feelings out towards the end of the day when you are winding down, as it will help you introspect and will even help you sleep better.

  6. Seek professional help!
    Coping with mental illness is best done with professional guidance. Visiting a therapist will help you not only to manage but understand your emotions and cope with them in a healthy and effective way.

That being said, wintertime is a wonderful time of the year where you can snuggle up in your blanket with a cup of warm tea and some quality literature and have the time of your life! It is important to look after your mental health in order to be able to truly enjoy the winter experience.