Winter Wellness Tips: How to Cope with Seasonal Affective Disorder | Guest Post by Kimberly Hayes

Winter wellness can mean a lot of things, but for individuals who are living with seasonal affective disorder — also known as SAD — it often means finding the best ways to cope with feelings of sadness, exhaustion, and loneliness throughout certain times of the year. The disorder can affect everyone differently, but those who feel its effects during the fall and winter months typically have a hard time staying social, which can lead to a decline in their mental health and self-esteem. They may also have trouble keeping their immune system healthy, meaning they become sick often over the course of a few months. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to offset the effects of SAD and cope with them in a healthy way. From exercising and eating healthy to give your immune system a boost to finding ways to stay social with your friends and loved ones, living with seasonal affective disorder doesn’t have to be stressful. Read below for some tips.

Get Outside

It can be difficult for sufferers of SAD to get outside as often as they should; in the fall and winter, when the greenery is dying and the landscape looks barren, it can cause anxiety or sadness to spend a lot of time outdoors. However, getting out into the sun can help boost your metabolism, raise your vitamin D levels, and help you feel better overall. Since one of the major causes of seasonal affective disorder during the winter is a lack of adequate sunlight, even opening the curtains on a nice day can help you feel a little better.

Stay in Touch

One of the least-talked about effects of SAD is the feeling of isolation it can often bring. Many people who are living with the disorder have a hard time going out and being social, which can lead to loneliness, depression, and anxiety. However, there are some ways you can stay in touch with the people you care about. From making regular phone calls to your loved ones to using social media or downloading an app like Skype so you can video chat any time you want, you can remain social without leaving the comfort of your home.

Look for a Supplement

Lack of energy is another side effect of SAD that can take a big toll, so it’s important to do what you can to boost your ability to perform during the day. Energy supplements are a great start, but there are many different kinds on the market. If you want something that will help you boost your mental health as well as your energy levels, do some research online.

Check Your Gut

Many people aren’t aware of how much their gut health is connected to mood and mental health, but it can actually make a big difference in your overall wellness. This means daily exercise and a healthy diet, including foods that will balance the bacteria in your gut to improve your mood and reduce stress. Stress and anxiety are two things that will have a negative impact on your gut, but journaling and meditation will go a long way towards reducing those feelings.

Coping with seasonal affective disorder can be overwhelming if you don’t have a good plan, but knowing how to get through the darkest months will allow you to focus on the positive as much as possible. Talk to your friends and family for support, as they will be a great help.