Come the cooler seasons, most of us can experience low moods, sometimes to a serious extent. What is this, and what can we do about it?
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes with the four seasons, typically manifesting the most during the cold fall and winter months when the days are shorter, darker and colder.
Although people with SAD can experience a range of symptoms (from tiredness to low moods and lack of motivation) most people try their best to just work through them without addressing there may be an issue in the first place.
If you find the winter months are getting you a bit glum (and we’ve all been there!) here are some helpful tips on how to take SAD head-on.
Find the light
Lack of natural light is one of the biggest reasons behind winter SAD, so it’s no surprise that nowadays there are a number of light box therapies – called phototherapy – available on the market. Although they have been proven to help lift the spirits (mimicking the feeling of actual sunshine), I’m more of the mind of taking advantage of the real sun when it does break through the clouds. Our winters are cloudy, that much we know, but we also have those spectacularly bright days when the sky is blue and the sun is big. Make an effort to get outside in those elements: Bundle up and go for a walk, a hike or a stroll down the sidewalk to soak in all of that Vitamin D. I promise you it’s its own sense of therapy – you will literally feel like a wilting flower coming back alive.
Sounds rather intuitive, but the healthier you fuel your body the better you will feel. We have a tendency of over-eating during seasonal lows (especially in the carbohydrate family) so it’s important that we focus on diets that provide energy to counter-act our inclinations to hibernate on the couch with Netflix.
Because we get less natural sources of Vitamin D in the winter months because of the lack of sunlight, we can take dietary supplements, or we can focus on foods
that are rich in vitamin sources. Salmon is naturally rich in D-3 and eggs are a strong source of D-2: Both have been proven to help reduce the effects of SAD.
No doubt it’s harder this time of year, but because some of the symptoms of SAD are fatigue and lethargy, experts are quick to advice that staying physically active can offer a boost of energy and greatly improve mood. Whether you find time in the gym or in the outdoors, moving your body just feels damn good in any way you do it.
Sure, there are those days when you want to stay hidden under a blanket for the next 24-hours, but that’s no way to ride out all of winter. Bulk up your calendar a bit during the winter so you don’t have the option to couch surf interminably. Plus, it gives you things to look forward to, which is always a positive feeling.