SAD stands for seasonal affective disorder, a kind of depression that has something to do with changes in the season. It’s something that starts and ends at the same time each year — commencing in fall and continuing throughout winter, then disappearing in spring and summer. SAD is also known as seasonal depression or the winter blues.

Aside from leaving you feeling depressed, SAD can also cause other problems such as having low energy, spending more time sleeping, trouble concentrating, increased appetite, weight gain, and losing interest in doing things once enjoyed. Feeling anxious, irritable and worthless are also common symptoms of SAD.

Experts say that most cases of SAD happen in cold and dark areas on the planet. However, it can strike people who live in populated cities and spend more time inside the workplace than outdoors. Fortunately, you don’t have to wait for a long time before SAD clears as there are some natural ways to deal with it. Here are some of the best:

Get Enough Sun

Allowing your skin to be touched by the sun is a great way to combat SAD. At home, leave the drapes open and install large mirrors. Trim those bushes and trees around your abode. If possible, place your office desk right next to a window. Opting for a light therapy system may not come cheap, but you can benefit from investing in it if SAD strikes every year and causes significant changes in your happiness and productivity.

Have Some Exercise

We all know that exercising floods your brain with those happy hormones called endorphins. That’s why you should try to spend at least 20 minutes every day working out. Here’s a great idea: exercise outdoors instead of inside the gym. This way, you are combating SAD in a couple of ways — increasing your endorphins and getting some sun. Exercising also helps ward off weight gain, which is very common in people who are suffering from SAD.

Be Active

Does the thought of exercising leaves you feeling even more miserable? Then forget working out and instead engage in physical activities that you once enjoyed. Nothing can make you forget about SAD better than keeping your mind busy and your heart filled with joy. Consider opting for tasks that allow you to spend time with your family members and friends who are really supportive and caring.

Ditch Caffeine

Most people who feel down and sluggish may reach for a piping hot cup of coffee to feel rejuvenated. However, this is not really a good idea. That’s because you might end up feeling even more depressed as soon as caffeine in your bloodstream wanes off. Similarly, abstain from guzzling down sodas and energy drinks. A full glass of water is usually enough to give you a dose of energy. Add a squeeze of lemon if you want!

Eliminate Sugar

Just like caffeine, sugar is something that can give you an instant supply of energy, and then leave you feeling down once it’s out of your system. Cakes, donuts, muffins, ice cream, chocolate bars — pleasing your sweet tooth with all of these may leave you feeling good. Eventually, you will only wind up feeling more depressed because you know that these treats will end up in your thighs and midsection sooner or later.

Count on Herbs or Essential Oils

Last but not least, you may rely on a couple of herbs that are proven effective against SAD. A lot of people with SAD swear that St. John’s wort and passionflower are very good in warding off depression and anxiety. You may also count on some essential oils that you may smell, fill the room with, massage on your skin or bathe with. Some wonderful examples of SAD-busting essential oils you may go for include chamomile, lavender and ylang ylang.

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