Seasonal Affective Disorder
It’s that time of year again. The time of year when I start to feel S.A.D. As the leaves fall, the sun begins to set earlier and the air begins to change. Seasonal Affective Disorder or S.A.D. is a disorder that affects people during this time of year. This disorder is thought to be caused shorter periods of sunlight which increases melatonin and in turn disrupts regular sleep cycles (SOURCE). S.A.D. is a form of depression and can cause fatigue, sadness, lack of interest, irritability, and other symptoms similar to depression with the key characteristic being that Seasonal Affective Disorder improves as the daylight hours get longer in the spring.
When this time of year hits, I start feeling exhausted and have those unexplained feelings of sadness that can creep in. Through the years of living in New Hampshire and dealing with S.A.D. I have picked up some important strategies for coping with this disorder. It is important to monitor and manage S.A.D. to ensure good health and wellness during the long winter months.
Here are some ways to cope with S.A.D.
- Light therapy. Portable light boxes and dawn simulators provide your body with wavelengths of light that you miss out on during days with shorter daylight.
- Soak up the natural light! No matter what the weather is like I always try to get outside at least for a little bit to take advantage of the benefits of the Vitamin D that your body absorbs from the sun.
- Stay active. Keeping my body moving through exercise to get the natural rush of endorphins can be a mood booster
- Laugh More! Playing with my kids and giggling or laughing with friends provides a natural boost of serotonin to create greater feelings of positivity.
- Add more lean proteins such as fish into your diet. Fish contains higher levels of Omega-3’s which can give your more energy.
- Keep your sugar intake low so as not to create sugar highs and lows.
I hope that you are not S.A.D. too but if you are struggling with this like I do I hope these tips have helped you.
*disclaimer: I am not a medial doctor. Please consult with a physician if you are struggling with depression and in need of help.
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