We asked The BuzzFeed Community to share a few things that help them cope with seasonal affective disorder. Here are some of their answers:
1. Submitted by lshyacinthe17
I've made a pact with myself to try not to hate winter so much. I go for walks as often as possible and I try to enjoy the wintry Manhattan things that are not available year round. I also do a lot of reading and writing because with the power of words, one can escape to any time of year.
2. Submitted by nicoleb4481fff7e
This is the worst winter for me as I moved from the U.S. to the U.K. to marry my husband. So happy and a great time in my life. But with my tendency towards the blues it has been a difficult transition. I also don't have a job and feel worthless and directionless. Making a to-do list and completing the tasks (though it takes a lot of resolve to get started on it) really helps and so does taking a vitamin B complex, vitamin D, and folic acid. I try to get as much sun as I can but it's hard here in London. I may try one of the light boxes I read about here!
3. Submitted by serenity11781
I really attempt to stay optimistic and to make myself happy by surrounding myself with happy people. I try to stay away from stressful situations and stay on top of things so I don't fall behind and feel buried. Poetry is also big for me. Every day I take half an hour to pour out my emotions so that I can calm down. I also take an hour every day to make myself laugh by watching funny Vines or BuzzFeed videos or little things on iFunny. It's all mind over matter, but sometimes matter wins! When that happens, you have to force your mind to think certain things.
4. Submitted by jays41
I have a SAD lamp that I sit in front of for 20 mins a day. I also take vitamin D daily. This helps, but having social interactions helps the most. My friends and I keep each other in check.
5. Submitted by starburned
I watch cartoons. It might sound silly, but watching cartoons on a cold miserable morning helps.
6. Submitted by Dshwazz
Luckily this winter hasn't been as bad as last year was. When it's -20 there is no amount of vitamin D that will help! I try and get outside in the middle of the day as much as I can and try to remember that it doesn't last forever. Tanning beds are terrible for you, I know, but sometimes 10 minutes with a load of sunscreen on can do wonders for me. My dad and I both have SAD. He is spending the winter in Guatemala. Ahhh, to be retired.
7. Submitted by teaganh491a39fcf
I make sure to pack a lunch and go and eat it outside somewhere. No phone, no internet, just people-watch and be. It usually helps.
8. Submitted by amandasuemariem
My mom sends me a box every year around October before it starts getting bad. She fills it with herbal supplements and books on how to get through. My saving grace was a sun lamp. I use it once a day for an hour depending on how I feel. It still has its moments but I am miles from where I was when I was younger and going through it.
9. Submitted by cocosand
Hot epsom salt baths, hot soup, and green tea. Vitamins D & B. Stretching helps, but it's hard to make yourself do it.
10. Submitted by mollyec2
I try to maintain a steady workout routine to keep the happy chemicals flowing. Zumba and yoga being two of my activities of choice for the sense of inner peace and catharsis they both bring me. Another activity I do to try and fight the SADs is finding new recipes to cook or bake to give to family and friends. It makes them happy and therefore makes me happy too. Last winter was a terrible one for me; I'm going to try harder to fight it this year.
11. Submitted by lilj
I read, cuddle with my hubby or pup, stay away from sad shows/movies. Try to get "up" by shaking my butt to music when doing housework.
12. Submitted by kirstenb44f73ace2
I find that doing yoga and going to the gym is very helpful. I also like to keep a stock of my favorite movies and books around so when I'm feeling down I'm guaranteed to have something nearby to cheer me up. Keeping plans with my friends is also good; that way I'm constantly looking forward to something. When it is sunny and nicer outside I try to take full advantage of it and soak up some vitamin D!
13. Submitted by lydiab4b973a9ff
My SAD this year has been the worst I've ever experienced and I'm putting it down to moving out of my parents' house where my bedroom had two skylights and into a much smaller, darker house. I take Prozac and have upped my dose for the dark season. Roll on March!
14. Submitted by TheLittleRedHeadThatCould
I have to confess; I had trouble shaking SAD. So much so, that I moved to Texas. 300+ days of sun on average was what I needed. Nothing, not vitamins, dietary changes, light boxes, exercise, counseling, affirmations…worked for me. I got anxiety over the coming winter, and it was really starting to mess with my life. I know it's not feasible for everyone to move to a new location, but it was the only thing that kept me from the utter throes of doom.
15. Submitted by Bri Sgro
I moved (back) to Florida after a winter in Connecticut was particularly brutal on my mental health. However, even here I still feel some effects. My family all understand that it's something I go through and they offer great distractions — they take me out when I feel I can't get out of bed or just spend time with me when it gets rough. I'm grateful a post like this exists because people are quick to brush it off as something silly and imaginary. I thought that too when I was diagnosed. I leave my blinds open during the daytime and literally sit in the sun when I can. This is the best winter I've had in years.
16. Submitted by Erin Hutchins
I take a Vitamin D/Calcium/Magnesium 3-in-1 supplement, have a sun lamp (although I'm not certain it's a real one; my aunt got it at the Christmas Tree Shop). The biggest help for me this year, though, is that I've started going to a Tibetan Buddhist meditation group. The peace I get from meditating, and the Buddhist philosophies, has been incredible.
17. Submitted by Maddy Grace Krebs
Honestly, I still haven't quite figured out how to conquer it. I've used happy lights, tanning beds, exercise and whatnot but nothing has ever really worked. Winter is just really hard for me.
18. Submitted by Jess Bo
I find it's easier to fill my day with little happy things than looking for one big happy thing; for example I have a "feel good" Spotify playlist I'll put on in the morning while I get ready and start dancing. It almost always feels awkward at first, but also never fails in actually making me feel good after a few minutes :) yay happy music and endorphins!