28 Dec Seasonal Depression | Ezzree’s Guide & Tips
What Is Seasonal Depression?
It’s December. Days are getting colder and shorter. We spend more time indoors, which means less sun, less outdoors time, and often less physical movement. With all these seasonal changes, people often feel the “Winter Blues,” experiencing low energy, fatigue, depression, and other symptoms. In some cases, the winter blues turn out to be a diagnosable disorder known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Why Do People Get SAD?
Experts aren’t entirely sure, though they have working theories. One theory focuses on how winter’s short days disrupt a person’s circadian rhythm – the internal clock that regulates our body’s energy levels throughout the day. Another theory is that winter disrupts hormones such as serotonin and melatonin, which regulate mood and sleep.
Whatever the exact scientific reason, it seems intuitive that winter might have this depressive effect with its freezing temperatures, dark afternoons, and increased time indoors, away from sunlight and open spaces.
Do I Have SAD?
SAD isn’t all that uncommon. 4-6% of the US residents suffer from SAD, while some 20% have a milder form of it.
What Can I Do To Treat SAD?
1) Awareness is the first step:
First and foremost, it’s important to recognize the patterns and symptoms of SAD. Catching on to the effect winter is having on you can be difficult because our fast-paced, stressful lives give us plenty of other things to blame for our symptoms. With a disorder like SAD, our ordinary stresses can be amplified or misidentified while the real source of the issue – a seasonal mood effect – hides in the background.
So being aware of our seasonal energy and identifying your own seasonal tendencies is really important. Speak to a doctor about seasonal effects and how you relate to them. They’ll help you sort out whether or not you have SAD or a milder form of it.
2) There are plenty of non-prescription ways to lighten the weight of seasonal mood effects:
Light therapy box:
these boxes emit light that is meant to mimic natural sunshine. Sitting in front of the box for 30 minutes a day can go a long way toward helping your body regulate its hormones and energy.
Decreased outdoors time and sunlight time can cause Vitamin D deficiency, which can cause fatigue and affect mood changes. Some practitioners recommend vitamin D supplements which are available prescription free and can go a long way toward lifting your energy and mood. You should consult with your doctor regarding a vitamin regimen designed for you.
Your diet impacts your mental and physical health. Unhealthy amounts of sugar, carbs, etc. can cause symptoms similar to the ones caused by SAD. By eating healthier, you can better your energy during the difficult winter months.
Aerobic exercises and maintaining physical health can have a really positive impact on your mood. A good workout releases endorphins, helping relieve anxiety, sadness, and other symptoms.
When winter gets cold, naturally you’ll spend less time outdoors. Aside from missing out on that yummy, important vitamin D from the sunlight, you’ll lose out on fresh air and open spaces. Relieve some of that indoor suffocation by making a concerted effort to get outside. Take a walk!
Be gentle with yourself! The common denominator of all these well-being tips for SAD – they’re all about being mindful of how you feel and treating yourself accordingly. Feeling the Winter Blues is perfectly reasonable – in fact, its chemical! So don’t beat yourself up for feeling down or fatigued. Be kind and think of ways to help yourself out. In addition to the tips above, simply make time for things you love and things you need. Watch a movie. Play your favorite music. Help yourself through the winter. You got this!