4 Ways to Combat SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
Feeling down this winter? It may not just be a mild case of the blues. SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a condition that affects millions across the country every year. It is important to understand that many who suffer from SAD do so not because they are unhappy with winter weather, but because they are simply not receiving exposure to sunlight.
In the warmer months when there is more sunlight, your body produces serotonin in response to the nutrients received by the sunlight. When the months grow colder and the days grow shorter, your body produces less serotonin and does not suppress the release of melatonin. Melatonin is a natural substance produced by your body when it is dark in order to help you sleep.
In winter, the darker days can wreak havoc with the production and release of serotonin and melatonin, resulting in the psychological condition of SAD – you feel sluggish, depressed, and unhappy overall. Thankfully, there are several ways you can combat SAD and relieve yourself of its debilitating effects.
1. Get More Exposure to Full Spectrum Light
Part of the problem contributing to SAD could be the lighting in your own home or office. Too much exposure to incandescent or fluorescent lighting can sometimes result in SAD-like symptoms. Replacing incandescent lighting with bulbs that deliver a full spectrum of light (much like sunlight), can help to alleviate those symptoms and provide you with the equivalent of sunlight exposure – especially on darker days when the sun is less prevalent.
2. Take a Vitamin D Supplement
Our bodies soak up Vitamin D from exposure to the sun. Without enough Vitamin D, you can feel depressed, and a deficiency can lead to more serious maladies. You might also consider taking a daily multivitamin as well.
3. Change Your Diet
Eating a large amount of processed foods initially causes a spike in serotonin, but results in a crash shortly thereafter – especially if your body isn’t producing enough serotonin at that time (which is common in winter months). By eliminating refined foods and consuming more foods with essential fatty acids, such as vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish, you can improve your mood and your health. A fish oil or flaxseed oil supplement might also help.
4. Get More Exercise
About 20-30 minutes of exercise three times a week can do wonders for both your mood and your health, especially when combined with a good diet. Try to walk during the sunlight hours over the winter months, or practice yoga or meditation to relieve stress and release other negative emotions.
Bee Health Clinics
Here at Bee Health Clinics, we want to help our clients combat SAD and get on track with their health goals. We can’t wait to support you in the development of healthy new habits in 2019! Reach out to us today.