Spring forward: 7 tips to transition out of SAD


Spring forward: 7 tips to transition out of SAD

If you struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression that typically occurs during specific seasonal patterns, the arrival of spring can bring the promise of brighter days and a renewed sense of hope.
“Making the transition from winter to spring may be more challenging for those who suffer with SAD, but it’s also an opportunity to anticipate getting outside with friends and doing things that boost your mood,” says Heather Partridge, a behavioral health counselor at Tidelands Health Family Medicine at Holmestown Road in Myrtle Beach.
SAD affects about 5 percent of adults in the U.S. It is more common among women than men and is linked to a biochemical imbalance in the brain prompted by shorter daylight hours and less sunlight in the winter. It can cause lethargy, body aches, depression and feelings of hopelessness.
“Warmer temperatures, more sunshine and longer days can boost your mood and motivate you to move more, which can improve your overall well-being and mental health,” Partridge adds. “Come springtime, people with SAD can usually expect adverse symptoms to dissipate and their mental state improve.”
With the right strategies, it’s possible to experience a smooth transition so you can embrace the joys of the new season with ease. Consider these seven tips for transitioning to spring:

1. Soak up natural light

Lack of sunshine, often the case in the winter, can disrupt the body’s circadian rhythms and cause lethargy and the blues. As daylight grows longer with the onset of spring, make an effort to maximize exposure to natural light by taking walks outdoors, opening the curtains wide or working near a window if in an office. Even a few minutes of natural daylight can do wonders for boosting mood and energy levels. Don’t forget to wear your sunscreen, though.

2. Embrace nature

Engage in outdoor activities such as gardening, hiking, picnicking or birdwatching. Not only can communing with nature elevate your mood, but it can also create a sense of connection with the world and promote overall well-being.

3. Exercise regularly

Getting physical is a powerful way to relieve symptoms of SAD. When you exercise, your body releases feel-good chemicals that combat stress and boost mood. Consider exercising outdoors now that warmer temperatures are arriving. Biking, jogging and outdoor yoga are great outdoor activities. It’s a good idea to consult with your physician or another qualified care provider before beginning a new exercise routine.

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4. Be kind to yourself

Spring is a season of renewal and growth. Treat yourself to an activity that brings restoration and promotes self-care such as meditating, deep breathing or journaling. Take time to focus on your mental health and do something that brings you joy and fulfillment such as treating yourself to a spa day or taking a walk through the park.

5. Get connected

Realize you’re not alone if you struggle with SAD. Reach out to friends, family or join a support group to connect with others. Expressing your thoughts and feelings can help alleviate symptoms and help you feel more hopeful.

6. Eat a balanced diet and stay hydrated

Be mindful of your body as you transition into the new season. That means staying hydrated and eating balanced diet full of nutrient-rich foods. That’s good advice any time of the year but especially when our bodies are facing a change such as a new season or daylight saving time.

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7. Spruce up your space

Celebrate the new season by sprucing up your home with new décor, vibrant colors and fragrant blooms. Not only can the update add new freshness to your environment, but it can lift your spirits and energy levels as well.

When to see your doctor

If you find you are often feeling down and you have lost the motivation to do activities you normally enjoy, be sure to speak with a qualified health care provider.
If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one or would like emotional support, call 988. The 988 Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the U.S.

Meet the Expert

Heather Partridge

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