The Skin Cancer Foundation Offers Alternative Treatments for SAD

Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 04:05 PM.

Make sleep a priority.

Adjust your schedule to fit in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night, and wake up earlier to take advantage of natural light. Getting enough, but not too much, sleep is beneficial to both physical and mental health and helps stabilize mood and reduce anxiety. Finding ways to relax and recharge each night is key.

Maintain a balanced diet.

Eating a well-balanced diet full of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and calcium-rich foods, while reducing your intake of foods high in fats, sodium and added sugars, can help improve your energy level and relieve stress.

Find time for fitness.

Exercise has also been linked to improved mood, and relieves feelings of stress and anxiety, which are both symptoms of SAD. The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderately intense aerobic activity every week. It is best to exercise outdoors before or after the hours between 10 AM and 4 PM (when the sun’s rays are strongest). Always practice proper sun protection: this includes covering up with clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses, and applying a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to the entire body.

If you are experiencing symptoms associated with SAD, consult your physician before making any decisions. Symptoms of the disorder include hopelessness, anxiety, increased appetite, weight gain, a heavy feeling in the arms or legs, and loss of interest in activities.

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