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Laziness or SAD: 6 Ways to Tell the Difference

Determine if your slump is actually a sign of seasonal affective disorder.

1. Bummed or Hopeless?

Frustrated more easily at the office? More pessimistic than usual? That type of sadness or “feeling down” is fairly normal with seasonal blues, Rock says. But, if thoughts turn hopeless or suicidal, time to get a second opinion. If symptoms are severe enough, psychiatrists can prescribe antidepressants, or they may recommend cognitive behavioral therapy (to help individuals redirect their thinking). Early research also suggests at-home strategies like “light box therapy”—sitting in front of a light that mimics the sun for about 20 minutes a day—may trigger chemical changes in the brain and help lessen symptoms. Such strategies could be helpful for more serious SAD symptoms as well as milder moodiness, Rock says.

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