Seasonal Affective Disorder Symptoms And How To Cope
Cold, dreary days can make all of us feel a little low sometimes, but if your emotions take a deeper tumble every year, you may be experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder or S.A.D. S.A.D. is a type of depression related to changes in the season, with symptoms typically starting in the fall and lasting through the winter months. More than just the “winter blues,” S.A.D. is caused by reduced exposure to sunlight, leading to a drop in serotonin levels.
This disorder is mostly characterized by feelings of despair or depression for periods of longer than 2 weeks, but it may also include losing interest in activities, low energy, oversleeping or trouble sleeping, changes in appetite, feeling agitated, difficulty concentrating, or feeling hopeless.
The risk is greater in those who live farther from the equator and experience much less sunlight in the winter season, but it is also more prevalent in women and young people between the ages of 18-30.
The good news is there are natural ways to support your body and help ease symptoms of S.A.D. Let's take a look:
Sitting in front of a light box that imitates natural outdoor light is one of the best defenses against S.A.D. The light exposure can help increase serotonin levels and fight off symptoms. Of course, it is also ideal if you can get outside regularly, especially on sunny winter days.
Omega 3 rich foods
Omega 3’s are known to improve overall brain function and lead to improvements in mood as well as a reduction in feelings of depression. Foods high in Omega 3’s include salmon, flax seeds, and walnuts.
All of the B vitamins are essential for mental and emotional wellbeing, so taking a daily B complex is a great idea for anyone who suffers with S.A.D. B12 has been especially highlighted as beneficial for treating depression, so it may be wise to take additional B12. As some people have troubles absorbing B12, you can take it in a sublingual tablet form which dissolves in your mouth and is absorbed directly into your bloodstream.
Before the time change, try adjusting some of these lifestyle and diet habits to make your symptoms not as prevalent. As always, check with your doctor prior to adding any supplements if you are on any type of medication.