You can get help and live a reasonably happy life.

This is also known as, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). If you have this, you don’t have to suffer alone or in silence. There are more people that suffer from SAD, than you think. This means you are not alone. Unfortunately, a lot of people may not realize they have it or want to talk about it.

Talking about it, is actually one of the best things you can do. Please don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed. People suffer from SAD for many different reason. It could be chemical, genetic or the environment. The good news is, it’s treatable.

Here are 6 recipes to help you overcome SAD:

  1. Get outside and soak in the rays. You need natural sunlight, AKA, Vitamin D. A minimum of 20 minutes a day is best. If you can sit by a window during the day. You also need to get outside. If you can, go for a 20 minute walk. If you live in a place where it is too cold to get outside during the day, then invest in light bulbs that are natural light rather than fluorescent light.
  2. Get moving. Studies have shown that walking a minimum of 35 minutes a day has helped reduce depression symptoms. This is in people that have mild to moderate symptoms of depression. You can exercise inside or outside. Try a workout that will challenge you and get your heart rate up. I like to start the day with exercise. When I do I am much more focused, and in a really good mood.
  3. Keep things simple. You are led to believe that in order to get ahead, you must suffer. This is an old belief. Now, don’t get me wrong. If you want to get ahead, then you will have to sweat a little bit. But, not at the expense of yourself and loved ones. If you can’t afford a new car, then buy a used one. Don’t worry about what others will think. What matters is, you won’t be stressed out and feel depressed.
  4. Rest your mind. Set aside 10 minutes a day to breathe and close your eyes. I know you feel that is too much time. But, it really isn’t. Make sure you clear your mind. If thoughts come up don’t judge them, just let them be. Now, I know you’re thinking that is a waste of time. That’s because you have trained your brain to think that way. Start retraining your brain today, by letting it rest.
  5. Stop beating yourself up with negative self talk. This is something we have all done and it really is a waste of time. You tell yourself things that aren't true. Maybe these are things you heard growing up, or that were shouted at you in a prior relationship. Replace each negative thought with a positive thought. It can be as simple as, "Today will be a fresh start."
  6. Turn it over to God. When it feels like nobody else cares, it’s good to know that God cares. You aren’t meant to be perfect. You shouldn’t expect this of yourself. You also, shouldn’t hang around with people that expect perfection from you all the time. The next time you are feeling stressed out, say a prayer. Ask God, what would He do? Then, just sit there and breathe.

Take it day by day. It’s easy to have regrets about the past, or obsess about the future. The only thing you have control over is the present. Learn to embrace it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s alright to learn from the past and plan for the future. You just don’t want to get depressed about it, or let it take over.

Lianne Avila is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, in San Mateo, CA. She has helped many people overcome depression, and thrive in life. For more information, please call (650) 892-0357 or email (Lianne@LessonsforLove.com).

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1510 Fashion Island Blvd.
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San Mateo, CA 94404

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