Combat the Winter Blues with These Simple Tips

Do the long, dark winters really get to you? Do you experience a serious mood change when the seasons change? Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a cyclic, seasonal condition. The signs and symptoms come and go at the same time every ear and usually start appearing in the late autumn and go away during the sunny days of spring.

Here are some questions to pose to determine if you have SAD in the winter, do you:

• Tend to eat more?
• Tend to steep more?
• Put on more weight?
• Have less energy?
• Withdraw from friends?
• Feel more pessimistic?
• Have difficulty concentrating?
• Have an increase in anxiety?
• Generally feel a bit depressed?

If you answered yes to any of these, then you might have seasonal affective disorder. Here are some ways to combat SAD naturally:

1. Get as much sunlight as you can. Keep your curtains open, so your house and office are filled with light. Open your windows if the weather permits. Sit near windows as much as you can when you are at work, at home or on a bus so you can soak up the sun when it is out.
2. If it is sunny outside, regardless of how cold it is, bundle up and get some fresh air. Have lunch outside or take a walk, which can really lift your spirits.
3. Plan a vacation someplace warm in the winter so that you have something to look forward to and will have a break from the dark, cold weather.
4. Try a dawn stimulator or sunrise clock. It can be set like an alarm clock to produce an artificial gradual sunrise as you wake up in the morning.
5. Put an ionizer in the room that you spend most of your time in to keep the air fresh. Ionizers emit negative ions, which occur commonly in nature (for instance, after a rainstorm) and can create an overall sense of well-being and regulate hormone levels.

6. Plan activities in winter that keep your spirits lifted. Make sure you plan social engagements with people you like and whose company you enjoy, so that regardless of the weather, you are out and about with others.
7. Make sure that you have full-spectrum lights, which simulate natural light, in your home and office.
8. Try light therapy. Sit near a light box, a device that emits full-spectrum light but filters out ultraviolet rays for safety. Light boxes can mimic sunlight so that your body gets the benefits of the sun even during the dark winter months.
9. Make sure you maintain a healthy diet, take the vitamins and minerals that you need and exercise three to four days a week.

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