If ever you feel your mood going down once fall folds into winter, that is completely normal. Seasonal affective disorder symptoms affect nurses across the country. These include (but are nor limited to) Running low on enthusiasm or energy, overeating and oversleeping, or being unable to focus on your current tasks.

 If you find yourself feeling SAD this holiday season, then the following tips may be of use to you. With the right mindset and the right seasonal affective disorder treatment, anyone can dig themselves out of this funk.

 Take in Some Natural Sunlight

One of the root causes of SAD is the lack of sunlight in winter. You start producing more serotonin and less melatonin, and this imbalance feeds into SAD depression. Beyond that, dark surroundings just naturally feed into a gloomy atmosphere.

To combat this, you want to soak in sunlight at every opportunity. Open your windows in the morning to let the natural light in. If you can, make it a habit to take early walks. There are also specialized sunlight lamps that are specifically designed to imitate natural light.

This “light therapy” can be used early in the day, as an alternative to natural light. This seasonal affective disorder treatment is not perfect, but it is effective in a pinch. 

 Exercise, Exercise, Exercise

 When you exercise, your body releases endorphins that help combat seasonal affective disorder symptoms. Additionally, it provides an outlet for any pent-up tension and worries.

 Slowly but surely, you will also start feeling better about yourself and your body image. You do not have to pick up a brutal 3-hour regiment (although nothing is stopping you). Taking low-intensity walks, doing yoga, or committing to a light cardio routine is more than enough.

As long as you can commit to 30+ minutes of regular exercise, your hard work will eventually pay dividends.

 Spend Time with your Loved Ones

 Working through a busy nursing work week, in a cold dark winter can be an isolating experience. Spending time with your friends, family and loved ones can make a huge difference. Quality time with others is the essence of the holiday spirit, after all. Whenever you are free, it is never a bad idea to plan an outing to watch a movie or go shopping at the mall. If you still want to stay home, you can invite friends over for a board game night, dinner or a movie watch party. If your friend invites you to a Christmas party, think twice before turning down the offer. Seeing new faces may be just what you need, to freshen things up in life.

Consult a Professional

 There are times when you cannot “power through” seasonal affective disorder. At its worst, SAD can completely derail your sleep or eating schedule. If your condition is crippling your ability to function in daily life, consider seeing a therapist, doctor or another qualified professional.

You may need seasonal affective disorder medication and this is completely normal. Always remember that mental health problems are just as valid as physical ones, and the two are deeply intertwined. You have to do what is best for you.