A fair amount of people get the winter blues when the season comes.
Also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), this is a perfectly natural condition – but one that is frustrating and potentially life-altering.
About 2% to 3% of Canadians are affected with seasonal affective disorder, with another 15% experiencing a milder form of SAD.
Seasonal affective disorder becomes much more common during winter – which, here in Ottawa can be four, five or even six months!
As natural as SAD may be, however, it doesn’t mean that the condition is something that you should ignore.
Ways of Dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder
The symptoms can be pretty severe, with the most worrisome ones being mood changes, depression, and despair.
The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder can be very unpleasant, and the consequences can be grievous.
If left unchecked, SAD can eat into all aspects of your life and even affect people around you. As such, developing ways of coping should be your top priority.
Some excellent ways of dealing with seasonal affective disorder include:
1. Not beating yourself up for having SAD
Firstly, you have to understand that seasonal affective disorder is a natural condition that affects many people.
Having SAD does not make you less of a person — you’re not that much different from everyone else.
Negative thoughts, along with stress, can make your symptoms worse.
Don’t beat yourself up for feeling down and instead focus on moving forward as much as you can.
2. Sticking to the windows
Seasonal affective disorder becomes much more common when daylight hours are short, as in the winter months of Ottawa.
Scientists believe that the lack of sunlight exposure may be linked to the condition. What can then help is by exposing yourself to sunlight whenever you can.
When possible, stay near a window to soak up the rays.
Winters are more than just about the dark and gloomy scenery. The lack of sunlight is also linked to the occurrence of seasonal affective disorder.
3. Light therapy
If the sunlight you get still doesn’t suffice, you may want to try out light therapy.
Light therapy for seasonal affective disorder involves the use of a lightbox to expose your eyes to the light that mimics sunlight.
For as little as half an hour a day, Light therapy can improve your mood significantly.
Of course, if you have seasonal affective disorder, it’s best to get a professional opinion first as this method is not without downside.
4. Healthy living
Any mental or emotional condition benefits from healthy living, and seasonal affective disorder is no exception.
Keeping a healthy diet and doing regular exercise can help improve your overall well-being. These are all, as scientists believe, methods that can alleviate the effects of SAD.
Going out for a winter stroll under the sun can help expose you to much-needed sunlight and keep you fit at the same time.
5. Reaching out to friends and family
Seasonal affective disorder is not something that you shouldn’t go through alone.
Don’t underestimate the benefits of reaching out to family and friends — airing out your grievances can benefit you.
Try it out even if you don’t feel like talking since there’s no harm in doing so. Who knows, it might just be what gets you through the day!
Mental Health Professionals in Ottawa Can Help You Cope with SAD
Seasonal affective disorder isn’t something to be ignored since the symptoms can heavily affect your quality of life.
Luckily, professionals that are well-versed in dealing with SAD are available for help with seasonal affective disorder in Ottawa.
Waystone Psychology has the experience and compassion needed for addressing seasonal affective disorder. Learn more about us here or get in touch with us using the contact form directly below.