- Turn on the light. Light therapy is a proven treatment for seasonal affective disorder and can be used for other types of depression, too. The light mimics natural light and is thought to affect chemicals in the brain to improve mood. It's a special type of light available to anyone, but follow the directions because it's meant to be on for short periods of time.
- Go for a walk. Research has shown over and over that exercise is actually just as effective as antidepressants in treating depression. It doesn't matter what, or for how long, just move your body somehow. Put an appointment in your calendar to go for a walk around the block and honor it just as you would any other appointment.
- Fake laugh. Seriously! Even just making our bodies go through the motions of laughing sends signals to our brain that boost mood. And I don't mean "ha ha." I mean "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!" So close your door and throw yourself into a giggle fit.
- Pick your playlist. I think we can all relate to the power of song. Whether you prefer to listen to a sad song when you're feeling down ("Taylor Swift, you really get me") or a more uplifting song, it's really about what works for you. And if you can make the music yourself, even better.
- Take a break from screen time. The average American has 8 1/2 hour of screen time a day. A day! That includes computers, television, smartphones, GPS navigation, and even in-cinema movies. And - get this - it's not kids who get the most screen time. Adults ages 45-55 average 9 1/2 hours daily! The link between screen time and depression is well-established. Try turning it all off, just for an evening.
American Music Therapy Association
Exercise for Depression (Cochrane review)
Laughter and Depression (review) & Laughter Yoga website
Light Therapy for SAD
Screen-Free Week: May 5-11, 2014
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Verilux HappyLight natural spectrum light (there are many options but this is a brand I know)