The days are shorter, the nights are longer and you’re feeling moody with less energy. It could be Seasonal Depression also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
But you’re not alone. It’s estimated to affect 10 million Americans. You don’t have to just tough it out though. Today I’m giving you 5 solutions on how to manage SAD.
What is SAD?
SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of seasonal depression that comes usually during fall and winter and goes away in spring and summer.
SAD has the usual symptoms of depression but a few signs that it’s SAD are:
- Symptoms come on with the change in season
- uncontrollable urges to eat sugar and high-carbohydrate foods
- Lack of interest in socializing (wanting to “hibernate”)
- Oversleeping or trouble waking up
What Causes SAD?
The exact cause of SAD isn’t known, but the main theory is that is has to do with a lack of sunlight and vitamin D deficiency affecting the hypothalamus and it’s melatonin production, serotonin production and the circadian rhythm.
Melatonin- the hormone that makes you feel sleepy.
Serotonin- the hormone that affects your mood, appetite and sleep
Circadian rhythm- body’s internal clock
How SAD is Treated
With severe cases of SAD, doctors prescribe antidepressants. However lots of people just suffer through it, thinking it’s normal.
If you are looking for more natural ways to manage SAD, keep reading.
1. Keep Exercising: Regular exercise (consistency>duration) increases endorphins that help ease depression and brain fog.
2. Nourish Your Body: During cold months, it’s normal to want to reach for rich “comfort” foods like cookies and bread. They make us feel happier but they’ll eventually make us crash. Instead, focus on a SAD-busting, healing diet with lots of lean protein, leafy greens and fish.
3. Supplement with vitamin D : Low Vitamin D, or the sunshine vitamin, has been linked to depression and a compromised immune system.
4.Get Outside: When there is a ray of sunlight during the cold, dark months, take advantage! Take an early afternoon walk or try sitting near a window when you can to get sunlight.
5. Talk It Out: If you are concerned about your mental well-being or if SAD becomes more than you can handle, consider Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a type of psychotherapy that helps people change unhelpful or unhealthy habits of thinking, feeling and behaving.
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