Do you feel down during fall and winter months? Have you been experiencing more fatigue, lethargy and depression? It’s possible you have SAD, or seasonal affective disorder. SAD is a type of depression that only occurs certain months out of the year, typically in late fall and through the winter. While no one knows for sure what causes SAD, most of the theories point to shorter daytime hours and lack of sunlight. Seasonal changes in sunlight affect all kinds of animals, so it makes sense that it would affect us, too.
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But what can be done? Thankfully, there are some ways to cope:
Get more light: Open the blinds, and if possible move your desk closer to windows and natural light.
Get outside: Even a quick walk can be very helpful! Feel the sun on your skin, breathe in some fresh air, and get a change of scenery. The combination can work wonders!
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Eat good foods: Did you know that some depressive symptoms can be caused by vitamin deficiencies? And what better way to stock up on vitamins than by eating healthy, vitamin-rich foods? As if you needed another reason to eat right!
Take vitamin supplements: Sometimes, even when eating healthy foods, you can still have a vitamin deficiency. Vitamin D is produced in the body when we are exposed to sunlight, so logically, your levels drop in the winter. A simple blood test performed by your doctor can tell you if your level is low and supplements are available over the counter. A multivitamin is also a great idea to cover any other possible deficiencies.
Exercise: Both serotonin and melatonin levels are typically lower in winter months, but thankfully both are increased by exercise. Don’t forget all those feel-good endorphins that exercise releases in your brain! No matter what kind of exercise you choose, make sure you are moving. It can make a big difference!
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Talk to your doctor: If you have tried all the above and are still having symptoms, a trip to see your doctor is a good idea. They have many tests and treatments to help you get back on your feet.
You don’t have to be stuck with the “winter blues.” You may be surprised how much of a difference these simple techniques can make!
What strategies do you use to cope with SAD? Let us know in the comments below!