If you’re not a Stark (or a Snow), and you didn’t swear an oath to be a man of the night’s watch, you’re already in better shape this winter than Jon Snow was when he learned “Winter is Coming”.  However, just because you don’t live in Westeros, doesn’t mean you’re immune to the gloominess of winter.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression many people suffer with this time of year. Symptoms of SAD include reduced energy, oversleeping, intense carb and sugar cravings, weight gain, sadness, and avoidance of social situations. Sound familiar? It’s okay.

Partha’s RX for Fighting Winter Blues

1. Get As Much Exposure to Sunlight as Possible

Seasonal Affective Disorder is very common in Michigan due to our short winter days and extended periods of time with little sunlight. If you’re ready to say “no” to SAD, it’s imperative you get as much exposure to sunlight as possible. Open the blinds and curtains, sit by the window, you can even trim back tree branches to get more natural light.

Stimulated sun light bulbs are great. They help stimulate your body’s natural energy enhancers without exposing you to harmful U-V rays.

2. Simulate Dawn

A dawn simulator could be a game changer for people experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder. The device causes the lights in your bedroom to gradually brighten over a set period of time. This actually serves as an antidepressant and can make it easier to get out of bed in the morning.

3. Stay Active – Get Outdoors

You can raise your serotonin levels by staying active. Serotonin helps relay messages from one area of the brain to another. It helps brain cells related to mood, sexual desire and function, appetite, sleep, memory and learning, temperature regulation, and some social behavior. Try going for a walk when the sun is out. Spending time outdoors can improve focus and reduce stress

4. Eat Healthy – Take Vitamin D

Food is medicine. What you put into your body directly relates to how your body functions and feels. During the winter months, it’s tough to get enough Vitamin D because your body typically produces Vitamin D through direct exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D is important for normal growth and development of bones, and teeth, and provides resistance to diseases. A little bit of sunlight can go a long way – even just ten minutes in the sun can boost Vitamin D production. Take a multivitamin high in Vitamin D to be safe this time of year.

5. Plan a Vacation

Yes, plan a vacation. The simple act of planning a sunny vacation can cause a significant increase in overall happiness. You don’t have to take the vacation right away, but begin planting the seeds of positivity and watch happiness grow.

You can survive the brutal winter months. Be serious about your health and happiness and try these simple tips out if you think you could be suffering from SAD.