By Sarah Wylde
Do you find that this time of year, you find it hard to focus and feel down? Is all you want to do is curl up and watch television and hide under the blankets? Do you shrug it off as the “winter blues”? Well, it may be Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
What is it?
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is actually a type of depression that is related to the changing of the seasons. It can happen during any time, not just in the winter, but it affects people most in the spring and fall. Those who suffer from SAD have it the same season each year. Like depression, you can feel sad, anxious, low energy, sleep more, and want to isolate yourself, causing issues with functioning daily.
What causes it?
There is no specific cause for Seasonal Affective Disorder, but some things have been linked to it. It has been connected to an imbalance in the brain brought on by shorter daylight hours and sun. With the shorter days and reduced exposure to sunlight does hurt our bodies and brains chemistry. SAD is also more common in women then it is in men.
Let’s get Technical:
At nighttime, our pineal gland produces a chemical called melatonin. Melatonin is a natural hormone that our body creates that makes us feel tired and sleepy. Prolonged exposure to sunlight prevents the production of melatonin, and increasing the output of a neurotransmitter called serotonin. The change in the seasons can affect the body’s production of hormones and serotonin.
Tips to combat SAD:
- Keep active. It may be hard, but it does help, even if it is just a walk around the block.
- Try hot yoga. The warmth in the room and the movements will help relax your muscles.
- Use essential oils and aromatherapy. They can help keep you calm and improve your mood, try lavender, bergamot, peppermint, and citrus oils.
- Spend time outside to get some natural vitamin D or take vitamin D supplements.
- Journal and keep track of moods, thoughts, and feelings.
- Talk to your doctor.
Remember to be kind to yourself and practice self-care and know that you are not alone.
Until next time.