As we head into the colder, darker months, I am trying to come up with a plan of attack for my SAD.
I have a SAD wake up light in my bedroom which makes opening your eyes in the morning a little easier. I also have a SAD lamp on a timer in my living room. When I was working I had my lamp next to where I had my morning coffee.
Try and get into the sun; getting as much natural sunlight is an even better option but is often not as easy as it sounds. As well as logistical issues, there’s the complication that SAD makes you lethargic and makes you feel like you can’t actually be bothered to go out.
Which is where routine and planning comes in. If you do something every day or every Wednesday or whatever hopefully it will become habit and you’ll be more likely to do it even if you can’t be bothered. Planning specifics also helps. If you think you’ll go for a walk one day you might but if you decide you’ll go for a walk to the coffee shop on Monday lunch break you’re more likely to do it.
Exercise is supposed to be good, and you can link it with being outside, but not an option open to all of us.
When you’re feeling low it can be really easy to get into the habit of eating lots of comfort food, fast food or no food. None of which are going to help your mood. Eating well sounds easy but I know it’s hard. Try batch cooking and freezing. Plan ahead. Decide what you’re going to eat each day and do what you can to make it easy for yourself. If prechopped vegetables mean you’re more likely to eat them, go for it. If shop bought soup is going to mean you’re more likely to eat, do it. You could also look at vitamin tablets.
If you can, try and get into a healthy sleep routine to ensure you get enough (but try and avoid too much!) sleep. A disrupted body clock is one of the possible causes of SAD.
Ask for help with tasks you find difficult. For example maybe a friend could cook an extra portion of a meal and drop it round. Maybe someone could pick up some things from the supermarket. Or help you tidy your home. It can be hard to ask for help but often people don’t know how to help even though they want to.
Medication can also help and if you are experiencing symptoms of SAD please talk to your dr.