Sad Home Remedies Light Therapy Sad And Alternative Medicine

Although the standard medical remedies for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) are generally medications, psychotherapy and light therapy, SAD home remedies can also help treat and manage the symptoms of seasonal depression.

Sunlight for Seasonal Depression

Because lack of light can trigger symptoms of SAD, natural light is highly recommended for SAD patients. Set up your home and work environments so they get as much sunlight as possible. Open blinds or curtains and sit close to bright windows. Be sure to trim tree branches that block sunlight. If itÕs feasible, you can even add skylights to your home.

Also, get outside as much as possible. Even overcast light is brighter than most indoor light. If you can’t get enough natural light, talk to your health care provider about using light therapy. For many people, the use of light improves the symptoms of SAD.

Exercise: Get Moving

Regular physical exercise can relieve stress and anxiety, both of which can cause an increase in SAD symptoms. Exercise can make you feel better and lift your mood. And, if you exercise outdoors, natural light is a side benefit.

Yoga may also help manage the symptoms of SAD. According to Yoga Journal, while there’s little research on how yoga affects SAD, studies have shown that yoga can help with other forms of depression. Yoga boasts the same physical benefits as other types of exercise, but also works on a mental level to improve thinking and focus.

Eating Healthy to Manage SAD

The most common dietary recommendation for SAD is to eat a well-balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, proteins and fats at each meal. Some food types to consider are:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Found in cold-water fish (such as salmon, mackerel and herring) and in flaxseed, flax oil and walnuts, omega-3 fatty acids are important for optimum brain function.
  • Protein-rich foods: Look for foods that contain an amino acid called tyrosine. Tyrosine raises levels of the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine, which affect mood.
  • Tryptophans: Foods such as legumes, quinoa, soybeans and nutritional yeast contain tryptophan that can raise serotonin levels, elevating mood.

To maintain a stable blood sugar, which helps stabilize moods, eat small but frequent meals every two to three hours.

Supplements and Vitamins

Certain supplements may be helpful as SAD home remedies. Five of the most commonly used supplements are:

  • Melatonin: This is a natural hormone that helps regulate mood and sleep cycles. The changing seasons may disrupt melatonin levels. Some people may find taking melatonin supplements helpful to regulate their sleeping patterns.
  • Omega-3 fatty acid supplements: These have been shown to relieve depression symptoms in some studies.
  • SAMe: This is a synthetic form of a chemical that the body naturally produces. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved SAMe to treat depression; however, doctors in Europe use SAMe as a prescription drug for depression.
  • St. John’s wort: This is an herb that has traditionally been used for depression.
  • Vitamin D: Our bodies produce vitamin D from sunlight, and many people are vitamin D deficient. According to some studies, vitamin D may help relieve SAD.

An important consideration is that SAMe and St. John’s wort can interact with other medications, especially antidepressants. Speak to your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet or beginning a new treatment.

Other Therapies for SAD

You can potentially get relief from the symptoms of SAD with any therapy that helps improve your mood, focus, energy flow or how you feel in general. Some possibilities are:

  • Acupuncture or traditional Chinese medicine
  • Energy practices such as tai chi or qi gong
  • Guided imagery
  • Massage therapy
  • Meditation
  • Support groups.

Finding a combination of SAD home remedies and other treatments that work for you may require some experimentation.

Resources

Boerner, Heather. (n.d.). Lighten up. Retrieved May 12, 2010, from the Yoga Journal website: www.yogajournal.com/health/2554.

Fiedler, Chrystle. (2002). Got the winter blahs? Retrieved May 12, 2010, from the Bastyr Center for Natural Health website: bastyrcenter.org/content/view/220/.

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2009). Seasonal affective disorder: lifestyle and home remedies. Retrieved May 12, 2010, from the Mayo Clinic website: www.mayoclinic.com/health/seasonal-affective-disorder/DS00195/DSECTION=lifestyle-and-home-remedies.

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2009). Seasonal affective disorder: alternative medicine. Retrieved May 12, 2010, from the Mayo Clinic website: www.mayoclinic.com/health/seasonal-affective-disorder/DS00195/DSECTION=alternative-medicine.

Zaretsky, K. (2010) Junk food blues: are depression and diet related? can a junk food diet increase your risk of depression. Retrieved May 13, 2010, from the Mayo Clinic website: www.mayoclinic.com/health/depression-and-diet/AN02057.