by Kristin Kuiper, LMSW, MSW
In my last blog, I provided some basics about Seasonal Affective Disorder . And now, just in time for the big anticipated snowfall this week, I’ll be sharing some practical ways you can stay healthy—emotionally, mentally, and physically—as you try to keep S.A.D at bay.
Try something new: Even if a trip to the Caribbean is not a realistic idea for you right now (this is actually a suggestion for the treatment of S.A.D!), there are still new ventures you can engage this season. Is there a hobby, an interest that you could explore? Is there a project list that requires you to be indoors in order for you to complete? Is there a relationship that you’ve been meaning to give attention to or a community/global cause that has ignited your heart?
Trying something new keeps your mind energized and keeps you engaged with what sparks your interests and passions.
Move your body: There is quite the buzz about a yoga studio that opened up in my neighborhood recently. The unique thing about this studio is that it is heated to near 90 degrees while you take the yoga class. Imagine coming in from the cold, exercising, and by the end most likely wishing you were back out in the cold again! Moving your body in a new way is a good strategy for keeping things lively this winter.
My husband recently joined a kickboxing class (thanks for the deal, Groupon!). It’s a new type of challenge for him, it shakes up his normal daily routine just enough so that he feels the energy rather than the drain.
A friend of mine went snow shoeing last weekend around a beautiful area not far from town. She is loving winter in a whole new way—taking in the quiet, the awe of the winter scenes.
What are some new ways you could move your body and fight the urge to stay on the couch? This often takes some advance planning and also some tuning in to what energizes you.
Take initiative: It’s easy to complain, isn’t it? Once we start complaining, it’s even easier to continue and to draw others into this type of mentality. By taking initiative, I’m talking about taking ownership of our words and actions. If I feel cooped up, it really is my responsibility to make an action plan, even if I wish someone else would take care of this for me, isn’t it? If I feel like I need a change in my routine or I am frustrated with my current lifestyle habits, it can be tempting to push this off on others close to me. Misery loves company, this is true.
Is there an area of your life that you realize gets a lot of your negative energy? How could you take some initiative—what would the steps be towards making some positive changes in this area?
If symptoms feel more serious: If you try some of these ideas and it’s just not helping, it might be time to talk with your doctor or a counselor. There are some forms of therapy (light therapy, talk therapy or even medications) that can help you as you travel on the road to good health.