Top Tips For Lifting Mood, Fighting S.A.D.

1- Reduce clutter
Even if I want nothing more than to lie in bed, I try to get up and clean, says psychologist Jennifer Lutzon. Tidying up reduces the clutter in our home, gets our muscles moving and allows our energy to flow freely. This counteracts the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) and lifts the mood, especially once we see the fruits of our labor. Having order at home helps promote a relaxing and stress-free environment during the winter season.

2- Let the sunlight in
Sunlight helps our bodies produce serotonin, the hormone that affects our mood, appetite and sleep. Open up windows to let the sunlight inside the house and get enough serotonin to stay upbeat. Taking walks out whenever the sun is shining also helps the body get enough sunlight to produce serotonin.

3- Lose the shades
Human eyes have evolved over 3 million years to live outside during the day. Expose them to natural sunlight and build up comfort being outside with sunglasses. Certainly protect yourself from direct, powerful light by wearing a baseball cap, but more than that is rarely needed, unless you are out for more than 20 or 30 minutes at a time.

4- Use a sun lamp
A sun lamp simulates sunlight using polarized light and helps our bodies make up for low sun exposure. A portable lamp is perfect for getting our daily light exposure while indoors.

5- Surround yourself with bright colors
A wall (in the living room, for example) painted in a vivid color counters the neutral hues outside the house. Brightly colored accessories like lamps, pillowcases and vases also help to create a bright and cheerful atmosphere to combat the winter gloom.

6- Improve your diet
Food is a huge factor in our moods, and having a proper diet affects SAD every day. A green, leafy vegetable-filled menu, limited sugar and low caffeine intake, and high-protein meals all help supplement the serotonin and dopamine (the neurotransmitter for the feel-good center in the brain) levels in our brains.

7- Exercise
If it’s not too cold or the weather isn’t too crazy, bundle up and walk outdoors. Exercise gets the blood flowing and releases endorphins which lifts our mood. If it’s too cold out or snowing, there are plenty of home exercise tutorials available online.

7- Connect with others
Resist the urge to isolate. Invite friends over for movies, games or cozy nights knitting by the fire. Spending an afternoon sledding with kids (your kids, your nephews, the neighbors), followed by hot chocolate and soup, is a great way to improve mood.

Topics: Seasonal Affective Disorder, SAD, S.A.D., depression, light therapy, depression self-help