SAD Sapping Your Energies?
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that is related to changes in seasons—usually as the days begin to get shorter and the amount of sunlight decreases. For most people SAD begins and ends at about the same time every year.
It’s not an uncommon disorder—I experience this every year as well. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. My worse month is February. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer.
Treatment for SAD may include light therapy (phototherapy), psychotherapy, and medications. I am doing phototherapy this year. I turn on my happy light whenever I am working at my computer in my office.
In addition, there are a few lifestyle and home remedies that can help combat the symptoms of SAD:
- Make your environment sunnier and brighter. Open blinds, trim tree branches that block sunlight or add skylights to your home. Sit closer to bright windows while at home or in the office.
Get outside. Take a long walk, eat lunch at a nearby park, or simply sit on a bench and soak up the sun. Even on cold or cloudy days, outdoor light can help — especially if you spend some time outside within two hours of getting up in the morning. Getting outside during the winter is a lifesaver for me.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise and other types of physical activity help relieve stress and anxiety, both of which can increase SAD symptoms. Being more fit can make you feel better about yourself, too, which can lift your mood. I find that extra cardio activity is important at this time of year. Cardio activity helps get the “feel good” endorphins going to help lift spirits.
Don’t brush off that yearly feeling as simply a case of the “winter blues” or a seasonal funk that you have to tough out on your own. Take steps to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the year.
If you need some motivation to get moving to help with SAD, or your health and fitness goals, contact me for personal training or join one of Body by Beth’s fun exercise groups! See our schedule of classes here.