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A Guide to Staving Off Seasonal Affective Disorder

Published by Daniel Brooks Moore (some content may be aggregated) on

“There is a world that doesn’t rise to the level of major depression—what we call the spectrum of subsyndromal depression. Low energy. Just getting out of bed in the morning and not really hitting your stride. Dragging around during the day. This can leak over into the cognitive area, where your thinking isn’t as efficient and effective as it normally is. Things aren’t flowing. You have a vague sense that you’re not at your best. You just aren’t 100 percent. Maybe you’re at 85 percent. For those of us functioning at a very high level, a loss of 15 percent is very substantial.

“People might drink a little more, a glass of wine or two at the end of the day. Take the edge off, feel a little better. But the next morning, you’re not hungover in the traditional sense, but you’re paying the price for it. You’re feeling it the morning after. It gives you a little push in the short run, but it’s a drag on you in the long run. Other bad habits: The casino, the music on, the lights are bright, there aren’t any clocks, so you forget what time it is, you come out, you’ve lost $500—it’s an attempt to make yourself feel better through an addictive behavior. Eating. That pint of Ben & Jerry’s in the fridge. You’re feeling down, order a pizza, cheer yourself up. Pizza and some Red Bull. All of these things are addictive quick fixes that are actually going to be counterproductive.”

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“The question is, what are the things you can do to make it better? I made a list for myself of positive habits. First: Get enough sleep. Start off the day with good food—avoid high-impact carbs and animal fats. Exercise. Very important. Meditate. It adds the extra dimension of exercising not just the sympathetic nervous system but also the parasympathetic nervous system, the part of the nervous system that relaxes us and makes us feel good.”

“Build relationships with supportive people, people you can turn to. Find meaning in your life: It is difficult to grind away at a job in which you don’t have a purpose. Give back. That’s another way of finding a meaning. It makes you feel good. Like ‘Wow, I made somebody’s day better today.'”

“Lastly, of course, traveling to sunny places in the wintertime is always nice.”

(Source: GQ)

Categories: Mental Health


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