Diminished natural daylight affects both your psychological and physiological well-being.
The colder, long darker days and evenings of Winter weather can trigger the onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The variations and shifts cause seasonal depression or winter depression. SAD is considered a type of bipolar disorder.
Some factors associated with the development of SAD include:
- A family history of SAD, the experience of clinical depression or bipolar disorder worsens seasonally.
- Age, young people specifically.
- A Decrease in sunlight disrupts your body's internal clock leading to feelings of depression.
- Reduced sunlight causes a drop-in serotonin production of a vital brain chemical that affects mood.
It is normal to have some days when you feel down winter SAD symptoms differ. SAD symptoms can be distressful and overpowering, the January and February months being the worst.
Winter SAD Symptoms:
- Feeling down for days and cannot get motivated to do activities you enjoy.
- Feeling hopeless or worthless.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Low energy and feeling sluggish.
- Sleeping too much.
- Appetite changes, eating disorders.
- Weight gain.
- Using alcohol for comfort, a boost, to feel calm. or for relaxation.
- Social withdrawal
- Entertaining suicidal thoughts seek help.
Symptoms start mild and become more severe during the long winter season. There is no known way to prevent the development of SAD. However, several treatments deal with the condition to help prevent further complications. Symptoms can improve quickly with treatment.
You can block changes in mood and energy levels with these SAD interventions. There are several ways to treat SAD.
Self-Care Therapies Seasonal Depression.
- When there is less sunlight in winter. Natural or full-spectrum light can have an anti-depressant effect.
- Get as much natural sunlight wherever possible increased exposure to sunlight can help improve symptoms.
- Sit closer to bright windows while at home or in the office to receive as much natural sunlight.
- Make your environment sunnier and brighter at home or in the office.
- Getting outside and the outdoor light helps to reduce symptoms.
- Stay physically active with movement and daily exercise.
- Regular exercise outdoors and other types of physical activities can reduce symptoms.
- Regular exercise lifts your mood and makes you feel better about yourself.
- Keep your social interactions in active mode to reduce feelings of isolation.
- Spend time sharing activities with your loved ones and friends. Try to remain sociable.
- Eating healthy can be an immediate mood booster.
Medical treatment for seasonal affective disorder includes
- Light therapy.
- Anti-depressant medications
- Alternate complementary medicines such as herbal teas or mind-body techniques help relieve SAD symptoms.
- Vitamin D affects how you feel and your mood. Vit D supplementation can be helpful.
- Meditation, acupuncture, and yoga help alleviate anxiety and depressive disorders.
- Massage therapy has a soothing effect on the mind and helps relieve depressive states. The healing touch of massage releases the body's natural mood regulators and boosts levels of endorphins and serotonin.