Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects more than 3 million people in American each year and causes symptoms like having low energy, feeling depressed, and having difficulty concentrating. SAD is a mood disorder that causes symptoms of depression when the weather outside is gloomy, cold, and dark. This typically happens in the winter season.
If you’re a travel nurse and have a feeling you might be dealing with SAD in the fall and winter months, here are five natural and easy solutions for how to make yourself feel better.
1. Using a lightbox
Light therapy uses exposure to bright, artificial light in order to make up for the loss of natural light found outside. 15 to 30 minutes of light therapy each day, using a light box, can help those with SAD in 2-4 days. It will help users fall asleep easier and ease issues with their circadian rhythms. It is the most effective when done consistently.
2. Take vitamin D
A lack of vitamin D has been linked to depression. You can naturally get vitamin D by spending some time in the sun each day, but if you live in an area where there is not a lot of sunshine, it can start to make you feel depressed. By taking vitamin D, you can make up for the lack of sun exposure, and it will also keep your immune system boosted through the winter.
3. Sleep with curtains open
Even though there might not be a lot of sunshine where you are living, opening the curtains in your room can allow for some kind of natural light to come in, and try and keep circadian rhythms in check and help you fall asleep faster at night.
4. Be sure to follow a healthy diet
You can ease the winter blues by eating healthy foods like tuna, salmon, fortified milk, and eggs, as they are high in vitamin D and can help you feel better. While depression can tempt you to want to grab carbs (like a bowl full of pasta or some bread!) or your favorite sweets, it can actually make you feel worse because they don’t have much nutritional value. Stick to healthy foods and you’ll feel better right away.
5. Get some exercise
Exercising is a great way for you, as a travel nurse, to ease symptoms of SAD because it helps your body release feel-good chemicals that can help with concentrations and feelings of happiness. This will make it easier for you to carry out your day and get things done, as well as get a restful night’s sleep. So go for a run outside, or maybe head to the gym for a jog on the treadmill.