Winter is on its way and you start to worry. During the winter season, you tend to feel low some or most of the time. If you think that the bleakness of winter months allows you to feel down more than you should, maybe you have seasonal depression. Also known as seasonal affective disorder or SAD, seasonal depression is a type of mood disorder that happens every year at the same time. This depression tends to start, as the day grows shorter during the fall and the winter season. Experts believe that people react this way in response to the decreasing amount of sunlight and colder temperature as the winter season progresses.
More often than not, SAD starts in the fall season, continues until the winter months and ends during the spring season. This type of disorder is more than just “winter blues”. It saps your energy and makes you moody all the time. Moreover, you also have to take note that although seasonal depression is common during the winter season, there are also those people who suffer from SAD during summer. It begins during the late spring and ends during the fall season. It is called summer depression. However, summer depression is a rare disorder and only affects a small percentage of people.
There is no exact cause of SAD but one theory believes that less exposure to the light from the sun will cause abnormalities in your internal biological clock that regulates sleep, mood and hormone production. If you are not sure whether you are suffering from SAD or not, you can evaluate yourself and look for SAD symptoms which includes sadness, irritability, lack of interest in things that you used to do, concentration difficulties, excessive cravings for carbohydrates and excessive sleep. However, it is important that you seek professional help first before assuming that you have SAD.
The moment you believe you have SAD, it is time you take action about it. Do not let it ruin your winter experience every year. Fortunately, there are some remedies that you can do to “cure” SAD.
- Get some light. Get rid of your depressed state by increasing your exposure to light. Get as much natural light as possible so take a walk in the morning – between 6am to 8am. Even if it is cloudy, the natural light will do you good. When you are inside, spend your time in the sunniest part of the house. Also, use light colored fabrics for your curtains, rugs and walls.
- Increase your serotonin level. Eat foods that are rich in tryptophan. Serotonin always makes you feel better. You can try eating more eggs, turkey and drink lots of milk.
- Limit alcohol intake. As much as you want to take alcohol to keep you warm, don’t do it. Alcohol is a type of depressant –it can only exacerbate your low mood.
It is important to address SAD seriously. Fortunately, whether it’s just cutting back on your alcohol intake or getting some light, there is always a way to decrease the effect of SAD.