If you are feeling down at this time of year, don’t be so hard on yourself…
It’s completely normal to sometimes feel sad or blue without an obvious reason, especially in winter. However, some people may suffer from a clinical seasonal depression known as SAD* that can have a serious debilitating impact on daily life.
What does SAD* mean?SAD* is an acronym for “Seasonal Affective Depression”, a common mood disorder associated with depression that affects millions each year when the weather becomes colder. SAD* is caused by a biochemical imbalance (decrease in the levels of the chemicals that control mood: serotonin & melatonin) and Vitamin-D deficiency due to the lack of sunlight and shortening of daylight hours in winter.
What are “Seasonal Affective Disorder” Symptoms?
The severity of symptoms can vary from person to person and can include:
- Fatigue and having less energy
- Sleeping for longer hours
- Lack of concentration and focus
- Hopelessness and lack of interest in everyday activities
- Anxiety and irritability
- Disruption of regular eating pattern
What should I do to avoid winter blues?
Simple changes in your daily routine can have a great impact on improving your mood such as:
“Exercise engages neurons in the brain, just like it engages muscles in the body. That raises the brain’s stress threshold,” says Dr. Ratey
Don’t let the cold weather be an excuse to curl up in your bed and do nothing other than snacking and binge-watching your favorite TV shows! Regular exercise acts as a mood booster and has an immensely positive impact on depression and anxiety by releasing feel-good brain chemicals. Exercise doesn’t need to be intense in order to benefit you, just be consistent whether by joining a gym, running around your block or just dancing in your room!
- Eat Well
“The food you eat can be either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison” says Ann Wigmore
Good nutrition plays an important role in maintaining good health and good mood!
– Vitamin D “the sunshine vitamin”:
Less exposure to sunlight decreases the levels of vitamin D in your body. Therefore, it’s recommended to increase your vitamin-D intake through milk, egg yolks, and fish.
– Curb your carbohydrate cravings:
Decreased serotonin levels tend to trigger cravings for carbohydrates which can cause irritability & fatigue. Don’t completely cut carbohydrates from your diet, just fight that urge and cravings by choosing healthier choices such as whole grains, beans, and potatoes.
- Hang out with your friends
“Talking to your best friend is sometimes all the therapy you need!”
Talking and getting support from friends have always been a great way to vent and release pent-up tension. Meeting your close friends after a long day can have a great role in providing you with inspiration and motivation you need to fight your inner battles and frustrations.
- Seek professional help
Don’t hesitate to consult your physician if these feelings seem to happen each year and have a profound impact on your life. There’s no shame in seeking professional help. Recognizing your problem and learning about it shows strength, not weakness. The truth is, we all need guidance through life one way or another!
“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. ― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
Your psychological well-being affects every aspect of your daily life.
Don’t ignore the signs and take positive steps towards better mental and emotional health!
Be strong, you are not alone in your battle …