Light Therapy for SAD
During the winter months, depending on where you live, moods can change. You may feel sad and down during the winter months. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a common type of depression that can happen during the cold, dark winter months. Being from Pennsylvania, I have almost 4-5 months of frigid and dark days each year. I never knew why I felt more down, tired, and fatigued during these months. Knowing what I know now, I most likely experience Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. SAD is thought to be related to the lack of light during the winter months.
A few things that help me cope with SAD are exercise and trying new hobbies. I am able to get out of my room and experience new things. Light therapy is one effective treatment for SAD. Light therapy mimics the natural light that we get from the sun, which boosts our energy and mood. Light therapy is safe and effective for SAD*. Research has noted chemical changes in the brain when exposed to these lights that reflect clinical improvement. Light therapy can be done in the form of light boxes or phototherapy boxes. These can be purchased at places like Amazon. These light boxes should be as little UV light as possible and have up to 10,000 lux of light. Light therapy is most effective when done as soon as you wake up for about 30-40 minutes. Light therapy helped me want to be more productive in the morning and I could tell that I felt better within 20 minutes of using it. I still use my light box often, especially with the gloomy days here! I would highly recommend trying this technique if experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder.
*it is always important to talk to your doctor BEFORE trying any new treatment approaches, light therapy for SAD is no different
Have you ever tried light therapy? Did it help with SAD for you? What other things help you cope with seasonal depression?