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5 Ways to Treat Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects two to three per cent of Canadians, and can lead to weight gain and a decrease in energy. Fight the cold-weather blues with these five treatment ideas.

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Get Moving

Daily exercise can help alleviate SAD symptoms, according to Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. So take up a new sport or revisit an old favourite.

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Try Yoga

Mind-body therapies such as yoga and meditation can ward off SAD-related depression, as evidenced by a study published in Psychological Science, which found changes in brain activity after only five weeks of meditation training.

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Take in Some Light

In a review of 20 published reports conducted by the American Psychiatric Association, light therapy was found to be as effective as antidepressants in coping with SAD symptoms. Give a light box a whirl for 30 minutes a day.

The Luxor desk lamp (pictured) delivers 10,000 lux of light (moonlight gives off 1 lux), consumes only 45 watts and doubles as a cool art piece. Available for $195 at northernlighttechnologies.ca.

(Photo: Northern Light Technologies)

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Change Your Diet

Consume the following foods to promote the production of “happy” brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine: salmon, sardines, mackerel, flaxseed and walnuts (all good sources of omega-3s); as well as oranges, leafy greens, fortified breakfast cereal and sunflower seeds (all rich in folic acid or folate).

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Find Milder Weather

If you can’t afford a tropical vacation, get your fix of balmy weather at your local botanical conservatory.