By Paige Baxter

As soon as the days get shorter, it’s common for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) to kick in and become a real issue for some people. SAD is a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. When it hits, it is important to make sure you have enough resources in your tool box to soften its blow.

  • Take Vitamin D supplements. It can be challenging to absorb sufficient amounts in the cooler months, so taking supplements can be extremely helpful for keeping your spirits high.
  • Try light therapy. Bring the sun…or at least artificial sun inside your home with a light box. These tools come in different sizes and shapes, but all have the same goal to stimulate the body’s natural response to sunlight through a light simulation.
  • Surround yourself with plants. What a game changer! Plants can help add greenery and life to your space to curb your winter blues. Plus plants give you something to care for if you don’t have a furry companion or person in your home. Before you hit your nearest greenhouse, make sure you research which plants are best for your space and light conditions.
  • Use bright colors in your living space. These will help keep your spirits high. Several studies have proven that colors can affect moods. Yellow or purple can brighten your spirits, reds can evoke feelings of anger or intensity, and lighter colors can be calming.
  • Exercise is key. Join a gym, watch some Youtube yoga or fitness videos, or take classes at a studio.  
  • Spend time with friends and family. When SAD hits, it’s easy to retreat to your personal safe haven, but that’s not always the best solution. Surround yourself with people who care about you and you’ll see the benefits.
  • Color! Coloring books aren’t just fun for children, adults can enjoy them too. Grab one and go to town.
  • Find a new hobby. Try something new or an activity that you’ve always wanted to give a go. Embroidery, indoor gardening, cycling, birdwatching and painting — the possibilities are endless!
  • Listen to music that you enjoy. Make sure to avoid sad or upsetting tunes and focus on light-hearted or more upbeat songs.
  • Go Outside. Motivate yourself to go outside for as long as possible once a day. Attend an outdoor festival, visit a corn maze, or just go on a walk along the James River. Make sure you’re properly bundled up, too!

We hope that some of these suggestions will bring more light in your life on those rough days.