Seasonal Affective Disorder | How to Feel Better in the Winter
If you can’t get off the couch and potato chips are your best friend from November to March, you might want to look into what’s causing you to change with the seasons. Feeling sad, crabby and too tired to do much of anything also could be a tip-off that’s something beyond cabin fever is at play.
You might be surprised to learn that your symptoms could have a name, seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D. or SAD). The good news is you can find ways to get off that couch, regain your life and discover how to beat winter blues.
Things You Never Realized Can Make You Sick
If you fall into a low spot every winter, you might think it happens to everyone, or it might come on so gradually you don’t even realize you have a kind of depression. In seasonal affective disorder, a person suffers symptoms like lethargy, low desire for activity or being with people, achy, flu-like feelings, poor attitude and mood and other depression-like signs.
If symptoms appear seasonally, in more than one year, and a doctor has ruled out other maladies, suspect SAD. Lack of sunlight, impure air and poor diet and exercise might be throwing off your natural circadian rhythm and hormonal balance, which sends you into feelings of winter blues depression.
Here are things to know about SAD:
- If you’re depressed only in the fall and winter, and it happens every year, SAD likely is doing its dirty work. Some people are more prone to the disorder than others.
- In SAD, most sufferers sleep too much, exercise too little and gain weight as they eat more carbohydrates. With little sleep, the hormone serotonin drops, setting of a vicious cycle of symptoms.
- Chart your moods, symptoms and behavior changes, and consider SAD if the pattern is seasonal.
Learning to Love the Light Helps
Diminished sunlight in winter, particularly in the north, triggers SAD in some people, as the brain gets less stimulation from light entering through the eyes, throwing off natural body rhythms.
If you suffer seasonal symptoms, try to get more light in the following ways:
- Turn to a special light designed for SAD sufferers. The directions will tell you how long to sit and how far away from the light.
- Get outside to soak up some sunlight to help reset your body clock.
The Air You Breathe Could Be Better
When cold weather approaches, we batten down the hatches, closing the heat in, but also trapping airborne contaminants. That’s not healthful for anyone, but it just throws fuel on the SAD fire.
Find out suggestions for breathing better indoor air:
- Create a clean air zone inside your home with indoor air filters that get the dirt out. Accomplish that by buying an air purifier.
- Get out of stagnant, dirty, indoor air as often as you can, and keep the air clean when you are inside. Studies show that light therapy alone does not cure SAD in everyone, but breathing clean air helps a lot.
- Learn about air purifiers, which do not just move air like a fan, but clean out the impurities, including allergens, dust, germs and dirt.
• Read whole house air purifier reviews to find the best machine for your needs.
Bag the Potato Chips and Get Off the Couch
If you suffer seasonal depression symptoms, the worst thing you can do is stay inactive and eat junk food.
Here are some suggestions for making your diet and activity levels do the work for you:
- Concentrate on a good diet, including ample vitamin D, which drops dramatically in people who don’t get enough sunlight.
- Get moving more and take your action outside, where you can get exercise, light and cleaner air.
Once you know what’s causing your seasonal depression, you are ready to fight it with sound health decisions, clean air, better light and the information you need to beat SAD
Author Bio: After more than 20 years as a community newspaper reporter, editor and owner, Mary Thomsen has written on almost every subject. She also does freelance writing for blogs and has a strong interest in human interest stories and those promoting general well-being.
Image source: parent24.com