Feeling a little stir crazy this winter? You’re not alone, says Dr. Dorothy Sit, assistant professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh and researcher at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC.
- Participate in ANY kind of physical activity – whether it’s doing lunges in your living room in front of the TV, or going for a long walk with friends at the mall, or trying a new exercise class like spinning or yoga. Here in Pittsburgh, she notes, you can try a local tradition of climbing up the Cathedral of Learningsteps for a great workout! But before heading out to strenuous activities like climbing many steps, it is advisable to see your medical doctor first for a check-up and to make sure this kind of activity is safe for you.
- Consider purchasing a light box. While antidepressants and increased exercise may help in some cases, there is an alternative treatment that is proving extremely effective: light therapy. Research has shown that light therapy, by using a light box, can be used not just for SAD, but also for treating non-seasonal mood disorders (major depressive disorder or depression in pregnancy), the effects of jet lag or shift work, and bulimia nervosa. Light boxes should only be used with clinical supervision. Dr. Sit notes that there still are unknowns about the effects of light therapy for bipolar disorder and she is currently conducting studies on light therapy for the treatment of bipolar depression. For more information, Dr. Sit and her study team can be reached at 1-800-436-2461 or 412-246-5346, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. More information on Dr. Sit’s research is also available here.
- Eat a healthy diet, full of fruits and vegetables. Dr. Sit notes that a healthy diet can help reduce stress and lift our moods.