If you’ve dealt with a seasonal affective disorder in the past, then you might worry about experiencing a repeat of the symptoms. It is possible to experience the signs and symptoms of SAD after you’ve experienced the disorder. With proactive treatments and good home remedy solutions, it is possible to reduce or eliminate the risks of a relapse.
Here are the steps you can take to stop SAD from coming back to haunt you once again.
#1. Exercise regularly. By exercising 4-5 days per week, you can reduce the stress and anxiety that typically comes with SAD and similar disorders. Moderate aerobic exercise tends to be the best option, so consider taking a walk around your neighborhood. Lifting weights and running can also be beneficial, but can also be disruptive to your sleep patterns.
#2. Create a sunny indoor environment. SAD likes to strike when you are experiencing a bland, indoor environment. Change things up by opening your blinds every day. Trim away obstructions outdoors that might block sunlight from coming into your home. You might consider adding a skylight to a room. Sit close to your windows and soak up whatever sun comes your way.
#3. Get outside whenever you can. Going out for a picnic, sitting at a park, or exploring a downtown community are all ways you can get outside more. Consider taking up an outdoor hobby, like gardening, to encourage more outdoor time. Even if it is cold outside, you’ll receive a benefit. Try to spend time outside within the first couple of hours upon waking up.
#4. Add Omega-3s to your diet. These healthy fats can be found in cold-water fish. Walnuts are another good source of them. Change your diet to include more of these foods and this may help to balance your mood. Supplements are also available, but high dose supplements do have the potential of interfering with other medications.
#5. Consider a melatonin supplement. This synthetic hormone helps to regulate your mood and can encourage sleep. Seasonal changes can sometimes cause less melatonin to be naturally produced, so this supplement can help to decrease a SAD onset during the winter months. Long-term use of synthetic melatonin has not been evaluated, so use it only when you feel it is necessary.
#6. Use St. John’s Wort. This herb is a popular depression treatment in Europe, though it has not been approved for treating depression in the United States. It tends to be helpful for mild signs and symptoms of SAD, but must be used with great care. St. John’s Wort interferes with many medications, including birth control, antidepressants, and chemotherapy. Be sure to speak with your doctor or treatment team before using this herb.
If light therapy has been recommended for your SAD symptoms, you can often use your lamp or box all year long as a proactive measure to reduce symptoms. In doing so, you can potentially stop your seasonal affective disorder from coming back again.