- Light therapy is one of the easiest natural ways to treat SAD. Special light boxes with up to 10,000 lux can be used to stimulate sunlight exposure and are available online. Spend 30 minutes directly facing the light box in the morning. Spending time outside every day can also greatly benefit a SAD sufferer.
- Physical activity greatly improves depression, so explore ways to be active that are also fun for you. Try qi gong, yoga, zumba, rock climbing...anything that gets your body moving and grooving. You don't need special equipment or a gym membership to be active, simply find a buddy to bundle up and brave the cold with for a walk around your neighborhood!
- Acupuncture, massage and other bodywork therapies all benefit mood disorders, including SAD. These manual therapies release endorphins, reduce stress and promote a feeling of general wellbeing.
- There are several supplements that can also improve your mood, especially vitamin D. Vitamin D is a mood-boosting, hormone-like substance our bodies produce when our skin is exposed to sunlight, but from November through February we are unable to make vitamin D in Minnesota! It is important to have your levels checked and to start a proper dose of balanced vitamin D.
- Omega-3 fatty acids, B-vitamins, melatonin, St. John's Wort and amino acids like 5-HTP and L-tryptophan can also be helpful. As with any new supplement program, it is important to talk to your naturopathic doctor about safe and appropriate doses for you.
Jesse Haas, CNS, LN is a licensed functional nutritionist and certified health coach. She was a founding partner of Wellness Minneapolis and was an active practitioner with the clinic from 2014-2022. To connect with her regarding functional nutrition and health coaching services, please follow this link.