Your Health

Strategies for preventing and minimizing seasonal affective disorder

Lighten up

Maximize your exposure to sunlight by opening blinds or sitting near a window. Research has shown that light exposure within two hours of waking in the morning is especially helpful.

Get outside

Take a walk at lunch, sit on a bench in the sun, walk the dog.

Get physical

Regular moderate-intensity exercise on most days of the week for a total of 30 minutes a day has mental health benefits. When doing this type of activity, you will notice a slight increase in breathing and heart rate. Research shows that physical activity will increase levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter involved in mood, sleep, appetite and other functions, linked to depression.

Eat well

Fight off sugar cravings that fuel mood swings and treat yourself to healthful and flavourful foods that provide energy and boost immunity.

Sleep tight

Stick to a reasonable sleep routine aiming for eight hours every night. Don't watch TV in the bedroom; keep it dark, quiet and cozy.

Stay in touch

Keep in contact with people you care about and follow through on social commitments.

Do something you love every day

Nourish yourself with things that make you feel good. Read your favourite magazine, attend a hobby or art show, soak in the tub, watch the big game.

Stress less

Practise stress reduction with calming music, breathe more deeply, visualize your fantasy vacation, stretch, walk, watch a comedy.

Avoid alcohol or drugs

Although people turn to alcohol and drugs for relief, they can worsen depression symptoms.

Take stock

Before going to bed, take time to think about and write down three good things about your day. Now think about your role in making these things happen.

Wave

About Wave

Wave is published six times a year by the Winnipeg Health Region in cooperation with the Winnipeg Free Press. It is available at newsstands, hospitals and clinics throughout Winnipeg, as well as McNally Robinson Books.

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