Spend some time with animals
If the trending videos on the Internet of adorable pets aren’t proof enough, pets have serious healing powers. In fact, research continues to prove that the unconditional love and support pets provide can guard us against depression, stress, and loneliness. “If you are a pet owner, take time each day to touch, play, or chat with your animal,” suggests Mayra Mendez, PhD, psychotherapist and program coordinator at Providence Saint John’s Child and Family Development Center in Santa Monica, California. If you don’t have a pet, volunteer at your local animal shelter or even try cuddling with a stuffed animal or furry blanket for a few moments, she says. Try these little ways to avoid SAD this season.
Take a warm, relaxing shower
Have you ever noticed how good you feel when you’re walking along the beach or standing next to a waterfall? That’s because rushing water and other elements of nature are chock-full of negative ions. “A negative ion is simply an atom that has an extra electron and a positive effect on our mind, body, and soul,” says Jennifer Blough, LLPC, professional counselor and owner of Deepwater Counseling in Ypsilanti, Michigan. “Positive ions, on the other hand, are produced by things such as electronics or air pollution and make us feel sluggish and depressed.” One of the easiest ways to get a healthy dose of feel-good ions? Take a shower and literally wash away your blues.