Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Seasonal Affective Disorder – SAD? Walk Away from the Blues Part 2

If you have been diagnosed with SAD, here are some suggestions:

• Get as much light as possible and avoid dark environments during daylight hours in winter.

• Discuss your symptoms with your physician. If diagnosed with SAD, they may prescribe special light treatments to help relieve your symptoms.

• Move that body – Exercise daily, preferably outdoors taking advantage of the natural light.

• Rearrange work spaces near a window, or set up bright lights in your work area.

• Stay on a regular sleep-wake cycle. It has been reported that people with SAD feel more alert when they stick to a regular schedule.

• Be aware of cold temperatures and dress to conserve your energy. Many people affected by seasonal changes are more sensitive to extreme temperatures.

• Avoid or minimize unnecessary stress.

• When possible, postpone making major life changes until spring or summer.

• If possible, arrange your vacation during the winter months in a warm and sunny climate.

• Set up a timer in your bedroom to switch on the lights a half an hour or more before you get up. This technique has been reported to have an antidepressant effect and actually help people awaken more easily.

• Eat a good diet. Choose lean proteins such as those found in lean meat, poultry (without skin), fish, eggs, beans and low-fat dairy products. When choosing carbohydrate foods go for the whole grain varieties as much as possible including bread, pasta and rice. Eat ample salads and vegetables as well as fruit daily.

There’s no known way to prevent the development of SAD. However, if you take steps early on to manage symptoms, you may be able to prevent them from getting worse over time. By gaining control over symptoms before they begin, you may be able to head off the serious changes in mood, appetite and behavior that can disrupt your daily life.

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