Seasonal Affective Disorder Treatment Ideas
Anne Milligan, LCSW

coolSeasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) is an actual physical and emotional disorder which occurs in the winter months. It is primarily caused by a lack of exposure to sunlight. The following symptoms are most typical of S.A.D.

Excessive feelings of sadness
A drop in energy and mood
A tendency to oversleep,with increased difficulty waking up in the morning
Feelings of negativity and hopelessness
Low motivation
Changes in appetite and possible weight gain
Social withdrawal
Difficulty concentrating
Increased susceptibility to colds and flu
Possible decrease in productivity at work or school

                       A CHECKLIST TO AVOID S.A.D. THIS WINTER:
Begin planning an exercise activity you can carry through the entire winter. Make sure you have adequate outdoor winter exercise clothing such as hats, gloves and a fleece or down jacket. Pose the idea of a winter walking group with friends. However, do not wait around for their commitment.  Move ahead with your own commitment and you just may inspire others to do the same.

Make an appointment for a full physical check-up if you haven't had one in a year. Ask your doctor to help you check for Vitamin D or other deficiencies of vitamins and minerals.

 See a Counseling Therapist
if you think there may be other reasons for your depressed mood. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is known to be a highly effective treatment for mood problems.

Do some research on "light therapy". Click the following for a reputable website for light therapy: LIGHT THERAPY RESOURCES

Spend at least 15 minutes a day outside in direct sunlight.

Look around for possible places in nature to explore during the winter months. Be open to the beauty of winter outdoors.

Make a commitment to yourself to avoid negative, depressing conversations with others about "dreary" winter months. Whenever possible, avoid relationships altogether with those who seem to "enjoy" negativity. Surround yourself as much as possible with positive people who have a good sense of humor.

Plan at least one volunteer activity that you can carry through the whole winter. Giving to others is one sure-fire way to avoid the self-absorption that is so common in those who are depressed.

Ask your doctor about a possible trial of an antidepressant medication if your depression has been particularly severe in the past.

Examine the possibility of engaging in some new spiritual activity this winter. Do you have a spiritual connection that feeds you and gives your life a sense of meaning every day that you awaken? Do you have friends who are also walking a spiritual journey? A rich and active spiritual life can help us "right-size" our personal problems and bring them all into a much wider context. Learning to lean on a power greater than ourselves can do wonders for learning to travel our short earthly pilgrimage with strength, dignity and grace.

coolFinally, one of my grandmothers was a "Snowbird" long before Snowbirds were cool! She apparently could NOT stand the winter in Ohio so they stayed in Florida all "winter" for years. You know, for some people, S.A.D. may affect them so intensely that a new sunnier climate actually may be what is necessary for them.

Four years ago, I began creating a new series of healing light meditations entitled "Into the Light".  Science has shown time and again that meditation is a helpful tool for growing health and happiness. You may consider downloading these as part of your overall plan to be well this winter, and all-year-round! Click the following link for more information:


| Seasonal Affective Disorder | Into the Light Volume 1 Track 2 |
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