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1. Go outside within two hours of waking up.

Lately in our neck of the woods the weather has been hovering around the zero mark Fahrenheit so might not be possible when every day. Even if it’s cold, taking a walk down the road and drinking in the natural daylight will help improve your mood.

2. Get a blue light box or special SAD lamp


Light therapy has been reported to work in 80% of all cases of SAD. Some research shows that blue light may be slightly more effective at reducing seasonal affective disorder symptoms than other types of light.
Doctors recommend sitting near your light box for 30 minutes each morning.

3. Take a vitamin D supplement.


Wintertime is terrible for getting enough sunlight to help your body produce it’s own vitamin D the way it should.  As a society we spend an immense amount of time indoors under artificial light which does nothing for our well being.  Our food sources though fortified with essential vitamins and minerals are lacking at best in their ability to provide enough of what we need to sustain our mood and mental clarity, let alone our overall health.  Vitamin D is critical to the body’s ability to absorb calcium for healthy bones and vascular system.  One study conducted during winter on 44 people without seasonal affective disorder found that vitamin D supplements produced improvements in various measures of mood.
Thanks to Dalvia Wellness Labs I received a complimentary bottle of Vitamin D3 Liquid Drops.  They were easy to add to any meal and even in between if I felt we needed it.  The liquid is just like water so I had to be careful not to dispense too much as it did tend to turn my stomach a bit if I accidentally took too much.  One drop in a glass of milk or water with a meal or snack that contained some fat – like olive oil or nut butter – was an easy, pill-free way to get D3 without the benefit of direct exposure to the sun.

4. Eat more complex carbohydrates.


When you’re down in the dumps pizza, pasta, chips and donuts may sound good, but they’ll do nothing to pull you out of your slump.  If anything they can push you down farther.
Complex carbs take longer to digest, which means they don’t cause spikes in blood sugar that can create roller-coaster moods; they also increase levels of serotonin in the brain. Opt for whole grains and complex carbs like spinach, yams, broccoli, beans, zucchini, lentils, skim milk, and more, which will fill you up while also providing long-lasting nourishment.

5. Let the light shine in

Make your house brighter.

Ask any cat and they’ll show you the best place to be during the day is in front of a brightly lit window.   Even when it’s cold we can still have stunningly beautiful sunny days.  Take advantage of that and keep your curtains pulled open and the shades up all day.  If there’s something blocking your view – do what you can to move it or trim it back.  If you can so some light redecorating to make your surroundings light and cheery.  Do your best to keep your surroundings clutter free every day.

6. Go out with friends and family


Isolating yourself only makes you think more about how down you feel.  Reach out, go out, accept an invitation and do what you can to be around people.

7. Make your bed every day.


It’s a simple way to feel accomplished. Bonus: It will keep you from getting back into it!

8. Take a winter vacation.


Save up your frequent flyers miles and vacation time for the winter months, not the summer months. If you can’t stand the cold, a February trip to Florida or California can be just what you need to make it through the brutal sleet ‘n’ snow season. Or if snow is kind of your fancy, escape to a cabin or make a skiing trip. Getting a change of scenery in the winter is seriously underrated!

9. Get some exercise.

Get some exercise.

Who wants to go to the gym when there are so many grilled cheese sandwiches to be consumed? I know, I know. But physical exercise is a proven depression buster, so don’t use winter as an excuse to miss out on all those awesome mood-enhancing endorphins and neurotransmitters.

10. Keep a set sleep schedule.

Keep a set sleep schedule.

Sleeping until noon on winter Saturdays feels heavenly, but if you can, try to adhere to a regular sleeping schedule. Because face it, spending a whole day in bed only makes you feel guilty about all that stuff you should be doing. Right? Right.

11. Limit your caffeine intake.

Limit your caffeine intake.

Soda with caffeine spikes your insulin levels and drops blood sugar levels, contributing to a sense of fatigue. All of that caffeinated coffee and tea can be dehydrating too. Blerg.

12. If your symptoms are persistent, visit your primary care physician.

If your symptoms are persistent, visit your primary care physician.

Even though some people might dismiss SAD as mere “winter blues,” there’s no shame in seeing a therapist or doctor if your symptoms aren’t relenting. Your health professional will walk you through your options, which might include a regimen of light therapy, psychotherapy, or anti-depression medication.

Curated from
Jessica Misener

Jessica Misener

BuzzFeed Staff