In recent years we have become much more aware of the growing issue of people suffering from depression and anxiety. The winter months are coming, meaning there is going to be less light, the temperature is dropping and people just don’t want to leave the house. If you are starting to feel your energy drain and are feeling lower than usual from the shift in weather and shorter days, then you will be adopting the classic symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression that is triggered by the changes in daylight and the weather which happens in the winter. In this article, we will go through some helpful tips to deal with SAD.
Why Do People Get Seasonal Affective Disorder?
It is not known why people get SAD but there are some theories as to why they do. The first is that it could be due to seasonal changes that disrupt circadian rhythm. This is basically our body clock which controls our energy levels which is why we feel tired and energised throughout the day. The second theory is that the change of seasons affects our hormones like serotonin and melatonin which affect our mood, well-being and feelings.
Here Are Some Helpful Tips To Deal With SAD:
Talk To Your Doctor First
SAD is a form of depression so it is always worth speaking to a health professional. Your doctor will know the right questions to ask and will also be able to help you with all the information that you need. Your doctor will certainly be able to tell you whether you have SAD or another type of depression which will, in turn, require different treatments.
Prepare Yourself In The Fall
When it starts to get colder, you start to get the home ready with bigger quilts, draft excluders and everything in between so it is only right to prepare your mind for the winter. By setting some time aside for fun mood-boosting activities, you will start to feel much better and will also have more energy. It is much better to start in the fall so that you can mentally prepare yourself. You should start to get back in touch with friends through groups, arrange some meetups and get back to doing some physical activities.
Prioritise Social Activities
A great way to treat SAD is by filling your weekends and evenings with things to do as studies suggest a correlation between depression and social isolation. This could be as simple as a walk with the dog, but it can also be going for a drink with friends or a meal with your partner. The choice is yours, just make sure you do it.
Create A Schedule
People who suffer from SAD will often struggle with sleeping and also getting up in the morning. By maintaining a schedule, it will improve your sleep pattern which will, in turn, relieve the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. Your body will start to notice that when you are in a routine, your body will in turn recognise patterns of light. You should also eat at regular time intervals as many people with SAD will put weight on through the winter. By eating at regular intervals, you will not be tempted to eat excessive amounts.
Get Enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D is produced in our body through sunlight, when it gets to those winter months, then you will start to feel the effects of a vitamin deficiency due to low light. This is why it is essential for everyone to stock up on a vitamin D3 supplement through the winter to help you feel your best as this is a cause for SAD. If you feel you may be deficient, then you can go speak to your doctor and discuss this with them as they may be able to give you something for this.
Exercise is fantastic for many different reasons and is also one of the best treatments for depression and to help alleviate symptoms of SAD. Exercise is another great way to get rid of that SAD weight that has been put on. It is best to stick to this as you will start to feel the benefits after a couple of sessions. You could even look at doing yoga as this helps you to be mindful whilst also doing the exercise you need.
Outdoor exercise is always the best method as it gets you outside with the elements. If it is too cold or wet, then going to the gym 3 times a week can improve your symptoms. When at the gym, opt for going on a treadmill next to a window so it feels like you are outside.
There are many helpful tips on how to deal with SAD, and depression but it all depends on what works for that person. The best option is to discuss this with a health professional so they can decipher whether it is SAD or something else.