As the days shorten, some people may experience symptoms of seasonal depression. This can often lead those afflicted to dread the winter months. Luckily, we have a few tips for you to combat seasonal depression and feel like your best self this winter.
What is Seasonal Depression?
Also known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, it is a type of depression often onset at the end of fall or beginning of winter. While there is no clear cause of SAD, it’s often associated with daylight savings as the amount of sunlight during the day decreases. It’s believed that this disrupts the body clock, leading to a chemical change in the brain where less serotonin is produced.
The Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder
Like depression, the symptoms of SAD can vary from person to person. Often times though, people experience:
- Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Experiencing changes in appetite or weight
- Feeling sluggish, irritated, or angry
- Having low energy or problems with sleep
- Difficulty concentrating
The primary difference between depression and seasonal affective disorder is that these symptoms are
brought on by a change in climate or sunlight around the same time each year.
Tips for Combating SAD
So, how do you combat symptoms of seasonal depression?
- Taking Vitamin D: This is a crucial vitamin in the production of serotonin and melatonin. Having good levels of vitamin D can help regulate the brain, control sleep patterns, and reduce symptoms of depression.
- Light Therapy: SAD is often brought on by lack of or change in sunlight. Light therapy mimics outdoor light and can ease your mood.
- Stay Active: During the cold winter months, it’s easy to want to stay in bed all day. However, this can have an adverse effect and worsen symptoms. Staying active boosts endorphins, which elevates your mood.
- Get outdoors: Take advantage of sunny days, even when it’s chilly, and get outside for a midday walk.
- Remember to Connect: It’s important to reach out to loved ones when you’re feeling down as isolating yourself can increase the feelings of depression.
It’s important to note that not everyone experiences SAD. Moreover, those who experienced it in previous years may not experience it this year, and vice versa. Implementing these tips though can help set yourself up for success, should you experience symptoms of seasonal depression.
Furthermore, those who experience on-going symptoms with little to no relief should seek professional help. Treatments such as therapy and medication are available.