There’s no known way to prevent SAD, but there are some things you can do in your life that may help. Try the following:
* Make your environment sunnier and brighter. Open the blinds and allow more sunlight into your home. Sit near a window while at work or at home.
* Get outside. If it’s not too cold out, take a walk outside during your lunch hour when the sun is at its peak.
* Be physically active. Exercise helps relieve stress and anxiety. Being more active helps your body’s physical and mental health. Looking and feeling fit also can make you feel better about yourself, which can improve your mood.
* Be social. Interacting with others can help you deal with depression. The last thing you want to do is isolate yourself. Talk to a family member, a friend or a religious leader. They can offer support, a shoulder to cry on or a positive conversation to cheer you up.
* Take care of your body and mind. Eat regular, healthy meals and avoid drugs and alcohol, which will only make your depression worse.
If you’re feeling depressed this winter, talk to your health care provider about the options you have to improve your quality of life.
Meg Stump is a Mayo Clinic Health System licensed professional counselor and marriage and family therapist. She will give a Speaking of Health presentation on SAD that is open to the public in the lower level conference center of the hospital at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato on Monday, Jan. 20, at 7 p.m.
For more information, please go to www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org.
Health & Fitness coverage is supported by Mayo Clinic Health System, preserving the health and well-being of southern Minnesota communities.