10 to 20% of Americans suffer from the “winter blues.” 5%, many of whom live in northern latitudes, experience a more serious condition called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD for short. This seasonal depression usually lasts from October to April.
SAD sufferers often crave sweets and carbs, experience anxiety, irritability, sadness, lack of focus, lethargy, and a desire to sleep.
Here are six ways to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder:
- SAD has a biological basis. While one specific cause remains elusive, evidence confirms that decreased sunlight is involved. Many people find relief through the daily use of light boxes that help suppress the brain’s secretion of melatonin (the hormone that makes us sleepy).
- Certain supplements may be helpful. These include omega 3 essential fatty acids, vitamin D, and St. John’s wort. Discuss supplementation with your doctor, as St. John’s wort may interfere with antidepressants.
- Exercise is an effective form of depression therapy, especially when you pair it with another form of treatment. Try a daily walk outside to help lift your mood.
- Yoga is a great form of exercise that can help with SAD. Yoga has been linked to improvements in stress, depression, anxiety, energy, and fatigue.
- Talking with a trusted friend who understands you is helpful for all forms of depression.
- Remember that although you may crave sweets and carbs, eating well makes you feel better and keeps your energy up naturally.