Cabin Fever. The Winter Blues. That claustrophobic feeling that creeps up on all of us when the temperature drops is known by many colloquialisms, but they don’t address what it's really called: Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Described as a sudden onslaught of depressive episodes concentrated around the fall and winter months, SAD has become part of regular conversation since it was first diagnosed. The symptoms, mostly those similar to mild depression, have been studied for years, and we continue to find ways to treat and alleviate what comes with them. Those treatments range from light therapy to aromatherapy and beyond, and can be used in the comfort of your own home, and even in the office.
Let There Be Light
Clinical studies have found that light therapy on college campuses is incredibly effective in combating SAD symptoms. The short days with not a lot of sunlight can wreak havoc on our mental state. Something like a Philips Wake Up Light will help simulate a sunrise, even when the sun is hours from rising. It’ll help you gradually wake up in the morning so you don't being jolted awake in the dark from an alarm and then groggy for the rest of the day.
Another good option is a desk lamp, like the NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp. With 10,000-lux light therapy and negative ion therapy, perch this puppy on your desk at home or in the office and keep those SAD symptoms at bay.
It’s easy to just sit on the couch under a blanket in the winter, but you should be exercising you body and mind. If you’re not the fitness type, try something stimulating that you can still do from your couch, like knitting. Wool and the Gang is a library of knitting kits to get you started on projects that could last through the entire season and keep your brain (and fingers) active and warm, like a chunky sweater, or a color-blocked throw blanket.
Another way to keep your brain active is to journal. Whether that’s creating a to-do list that you’ll actually stick to, going ham on a bullet journal, or finding one that stimulates the creative nature in all of us, a journal can shake away the lethargy of the colder months.
Enhance Your Senses
Aromatherapy has been around for centuries and is still to this day a large part of activities that relieve stress and and help combat sadness, like acupuncture and massages. Create a relaxing, spa-like atmosphere in your own home to help break the spell that comes from sharp winter air and short days with an oil diffuser. I have and enjoy this one from Saje Natural Wellness because it looks like a sculpture. Don’t forget to stock up on essential oils.
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