Seasonal Affective Disorder is defined as a form of depression that comes and goes as the seasons change.
This disorder is is most prevalent in Northern states due to the decrease in sunlight, changes in the circadian rhythm, and low vitamin D during the Fall and Winter seasons. The symptoms of SAD are an increase in sleep disturbances, aches and pains, loss of interest in activities, withdrawal from social supports, anxiety, weight gain, lethargy, and more.
Here are some ways you can combat SAD, and have a happier Fall and Winter:
Seek therapy- In therapy you can learn how to manage stress, decrease negative thinking, increase healthy behaviors, and build coping skills.
Light therapy- In light therapy, also called phototherapy, you sit a few feet from a special light box so that you're exposed to bright light within the first hour of waking up each day. Light therapy mimics natural outdoor light and appears to cause a change in brain chemicals linked to mood (Mayo Clinic, n.d.).
Medication- You can speak to your medical provider about your medication options.
Exercise Regularly- Physical activity can decrease stress. Also being in shape can help you feel better.
Get outside as much as you can- Even on cold days try to take a walk, eat outside, or just sit outside to soak up the sun.
Make your environment sunnier and brighter- Sit closer to windows, open the blinds, and trim branches that could be blocking sunlight.
Normalize sleep patterns- Set consistent sleep and wake times. Try to decrease napping and oversleeping.
Contact us today to see how we can work together.
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