With the changing of seasons, colder weather and shorter days are ahead which for a lot of people can be very depressing. This is often referred to as seasonal sadness, but the correct term for it is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is more than just feeling upset because the weather is colder, it is a disorder that causes mood swings and saps your energy. This type of depression usually begins for people with SAD around fall and lasts through winter. Symptoms disappear during spring and summer.
It’s not necessary to go through this cycle each fall or winter and there are a few demonstrated solutions that can help alleviate SAD One of the main factors that cause SAD is the reduced sunlight that comes with fall and winter. Studies have found that more people that live farthest from the equator, where there is limited sunlight, suffer from SAD more often. Less sunlight could unbalance internal clock leading to biochemical changes that cause depression.
Tips to Alleviate Symptoms of SAD
Many people find success by purchasing a phototherapy box (light therapy) and sit near it each day. This light imitates sunlight which can help elevate your mood. Behavior therapy is also another treatment that helps people address negative emotions and find coping skills through “talk therapy.” It has been found that therapy can also help with your sleeping schedule. The last resort is using medication such as antidepressants. People that do not have success with phototherapy and behavior therapy may need to discuss their feelings and symptoms with a physician to determine if it is SAD or another condition.
SAD can be a debilitating condition come fall and winter, but you don’t have to continue to suffer through it. Try to always get as much natural light as possible, go outdoors as frequently as feasible, spend time with friends and family and get daily exercise to help your overall health and wellness.