- Exercise regularly
Exercise is an important lifestyle component weather we are discussing SAD or simply general health. It is important to get 30 minutes of exercise 3-5 times a week. Joining a gym where there is a group fitness schedule is a great way to be held accountable. If going to the gym is not your cup of tea, try a local running group, or yoga. All these options have a schedule and designated times to exercise which will encourage you to exercise regularly and have fun while you are getting healthy.
Again, although we are discussing diet in relation to SAD it is an important component in overall health. It is best to create a schedule and plan ahead when discussing diet. Choose foods that are nutrient dense and provide energy for your day. It is best to avoid processed foods and excess sugar which provide little nutritional value and do not provide adequate energy.
- Limit sleep to 8 hours
Creating a consistent sleep time and wake time allows your body to have a predicted rhythm. Over sleeping and a fluctuating sleep/wake cycles can increase your bodies overall melatonin which can intensify the overall symptoms of SAD.
- Go outside
SAD is associated with the decrease sunlight a person’s body is exposed to in the colder months. It is associated with the shortened days and limited sunlight available. It is important to take advantage of the daylight we are provided with. Bundle up and go outside. You will find that when dressed appropriately, taking a walk on a chilly January morning is energizing and quite beautiful.
Meditation allows you to take time for yourself. It provides the body with relaxation, purpose, and self-awareness. It gives you opportunity to reflect without distraction, and become in tune with your body and what it requires. It is important to create balance to combat all the hectic components of the day. Meditation is best performed first thing in the morning or the last thing before you got to sleep.
- Create a schedule
This may be the most important component of them all. Creating a schedule which includes the above criteria will form a day fill with sunlight, exercise, nutrient dense meals, and an adequate amount of sleep. Whether you choose to create a schedule on your smart phone, planner, or calendar; schedule out your day and hold yourself accountable to the tasks planned. Creating change/a routine takes time. Writing down you goals and tasks will keep you accountable as well as feel very rewarding when completed.