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Coping with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

With leaves changing and the amount of daylight hours shrinking, it can feel draining. An estimated 2-3% of Canadians suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder(SAD).

If you have episodes of depression that reoccur at the same time every year for more than 2 years, you may have SAD, and not just the occasional winter blues.

SAD is now called Depressive Disorder with Seasonal Patterns

If the sun is shining, take the opportunity to soak in the vitamin D! Natural light can be the best remedy.

Try aromatherapy! Essential oils can infuse the area of the brain that's responsible for controlling moods and the body's internal clock. Try oils from the poplar tree to help with depression!

Have you tried several different therapies but nothing seems to be working? Explore light therapy! There are many devices available such as special lightbulbs and light boxes that can help.

Talk to you doctor! Your doctor will be able to sort out if you have SAD as opposed to some other form of depression.

Sticking to a schedule and trying to maintain regular sleep patterns will help you to see the light! Keeping a regular schedule will expose you to light at consistent and predictable times.

Brighten up your space! Open your blinds to get natural light in and decorate your surroundings with bright coloured decor.

Having to take medication or supplements such as vitamin D for SAD does not make you weak. Make sure to keep up with your doses-- it will help you to feel more regulated when times are tough.

Keep a journal! Release those negative thoughts by writing them down and getting them out of your brain.

Eat a Rainbow! Vegtables contain different mood boosting vitamins and minerals.

Get a Reiki Treatment! Reiki treatments provide a gentle and supportive healing experience by balancing your chakras. Find a practitioner in your area and book a treatment!

Make the most of the day! Wake up as early as you can so you can take in those rays of sunlight.

Keep active to boost your mood and your energy! Try an activity like hot yoga or go for a jog outside in nature. It may seem impossible but the exercise will help wonders.

Some days you may not be able to leave your bed. And that's okay. But try to act oppositely. If your brain is telling you to stay indoors, go out and visit with a friend. You have it in you to fight the darkness.

Plan ahead. As the winter months start rolling in, prepare for what's to come. Make a list of your coping strategies and supports for when you are faced with SAD.

If you're not able to go on vacation to somewhere warm and sunny. Practice guided imagery. Close your eyes and imagine yourself walking on a beach. What would it feel like to have the sun shining on your face and to feel the sand in your toes?

Go outside your comfort zone and participate in some winter activities. There are many fun things to do that you may enjoy. These small acts can lift your spirits when you're feeling very low.

Reach out to those around you, there's a good chance that they're also experiencing SAD or know someone who is. You're never alone.

Try out photography-- it may help you to see things, especially the winter months, from a different point of view.

Creating traditions with family or friends may help you to make meaning during these difficult times.

Download Wisdo-- an app that allows you to chat with people who are also struggling! Connecting with others and sharing your story can be incredibly healing experiences.

Educate yourself! Read books, watch videos and research about SAD- as long as they are accurate sources of information! By having a better understanding of something, it can make it easier to talk about what is going on and to make changes in your life.

Try a Dawn Simulator! Just like an alarm clock, but without the loud noises. It produces light that gradually increases in intensity, just like the sun.

Talk it out whether one-on-one with a counsellor or at a support group! Having an outlet to share what's on your mind and how you're feeling can be very cathartic.

Did you have a favourite winter activity as a kid? Take some time to try it out again!

Make a plan. Before your symptoms of SAD worsen, set a routine to follow. Schedule in time for hanging out with friends or exercising. You may not be able to fully prepare for your change in mood, but having some things set in place can make you feel more in control.

SAD may cause you to feel hopeless. Download the Be Safe app to create a safety plan for when you may be in crisis.

Sometimes you can't do it on your own and you may need a boost from medication. Talk to your doctor to explore your options.

It's important to remind yourself that brighter days are to come. Spring is around the corner, so don't give up.