It’s Bell Let’s Talk day so let’s do some talking. The days are short, the weather is dreary and life and school is always busy and stressful this time of year. It’s a perfect storm of mental health detractors and means that this is the perfect time of year, and the perfect day to talk about seasonal affective disorder.

Seasonal affective disorder (or SAD) is a kind of depression caused by the time of year; it affects 2-3% of the population and can be a serious medical concern for some. SAD is a yearly cycle and most people suffering from this condition begin experiencing symptoms in the fall and continue to experience them until the spring. SAD’s major symptom is a severe reduction in mood that endures for several days in a row, impairing your school, social and work life. Other symptoms include changes in appetite and weight, sleeping problems, irritability, trouble concentrating and feeling hopeless or weighed down. If you, a loved one, or someone you know are experiencing symptoms such as these, seek professional help – you can find where to look for help here. SAD is a serious concern but thankfully there are steps you can take to prevent its onset or reduce its impacts.

Daily Exercise

Getting exercise is one of the best things you can do for your both physical and mental health, it also helps prevent SAD and can help alleviate symptoms.

Get Outside

The exact cause of SAD is not completely known; however, it is widely believed to be linked to our natural body rhythms and reaction to light. Getting outside helps your body maintain its chemicals balance. Exercising outdoors is a great way to both get the needed outdoor time and physical activity.

Brighten your Spaces

Along with going outside, even increasing the amount of sunlight you are exposed to indoors can help alleviate symptoms of SAD. Sit near windows, draw back blinds, and work in spaces that have as much sunlight as possible. This again helps your body with its chemical balance, especially when the days are so short.

Rest Well

Getting quality sleep can be another effective reliever of SAD symptoms. The problem is that sometimes people suffering from SAD sleep too much, contributing to a feeling of hibernation, which can worsen the symptoms of SAD. Finding a balance that works for you and your body is critical to helping reduce the symptoms of SAD.

Seek Professional Help

If SAD is having an overwhelming affect on your life immediately seek professional medical attention. The techniques listed here can help prevent or reduce symptoms of SAD; however, for some people more serious treatment is required. If this is you please seek medical help as there are many treatment options available.

Overall, taking care of your mental health is very important – in the winters and year ’round. Daily outdoor time, exercise, and adequate sleep are critical to everyone’s mental and physical health. By taking these steps we can strive to be healthier and have more to give in our all aspects of our lives – with friends, family, school, work. If you are looking for more information on SAD check out this website. Don’t be afraid to talk! Take care of yourself!

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