Seasonal Affective Disorder
You know that feeling, that the inevitable winter will cause you to freeze into a human sized popsicle and eventually meet your demise?
The days get shorter and the weather gets colder.
If it happens to you often, it may not just be a funk.
There is a possibility that you have an ailment called Seasonal Affective Disorder.
And you’re not alone!
Season Affective Disorder plagues nearly 10 million Americans every year. And yet, so few actually understand the illness.
Seasonal affective disorder, commonly referred to as SAD is the clinical name for the winter blues or in rare cases, the summer blues. SAD is an onset of depressive episodes brought on by seasonal changes.
It is 4 times more common in women than men and it often develops after age 20, according to an article by Psychology Today.
Causes for SAD are often attributed to the inability to regulate levels of either melatonin in the winter and serotonin in the summer. Symptoms can include lethargy, hypersomnia, overeating and undereating. But it is important to note that the disorder affects people in different ways. Although there is no direct treatment for SAD, psychologists often recommend light therapy and instruct patients to instill some basic self-care rituals to combat the disease’s effects on the mind and body. Practicing self-care has been noted to dramatically decrease the effect that SAD has on the body and mind.
Here are a few ways to fight those winter blues!
1. Get as much sunlight as possible! Go outdoors in natural daylight as much as possible, especially midday when the sun is at its highest and warmest point.
2. Be Physical! Hit the gym. Take a walk. Practice Yoga! Just get your blood moving! Staying active is just as important as light therapy when treating SAD.
3. Stay Warm! Bundle up when outdoors and when inside! Studies show that by simply keeping warm, you can decrease the effects of SAD by nearly half!
4. Eat Healthy! During winters months there is an increase for sugary and starchy goodness! Be sure to curb the cravings with plenty of fresh fruits and veggies. Avoid the temptation! These foods decrease your energy and cause weight gain!
5. Become a social Butterfly! Although you may want to sit home and curl up under a blanket, make plans to get out and about with friends and family. This will help to increase your energy levels and lift your spirits.