Do you experience the winter blues?
If you’re feeling blue now that the holidays are over, you’re not alone. Lots of people feel a bit gloomy as the days get darker and colder. But while many experience the winter blues, there are some who experience seasonal affective disorder (yes, it’s also known as “SAD”), which is more severe. SAD can be quite debilitating, causing feelings of sadness, irritability, and sluggishness, as well as eating and sleep disturbances.
Research shows that SAD can affect anybody. It is likely to be caused by multiple factors, although it has been most closely linked to limited light exposure. Less sunshine during the winter really can put a damper on your mood! SAD can even cause physiological changes, such as disruption of circadian rhythms, lower vitamin D levels, dysregulation of serotonin, and an overproduction of melatonin. Couple this with post-holiday blues and a dislike of cold temperatures, and you may find yourself really wishing for warmer, longer, sunnier days. But as inescapable as winter is, there are some ways you can lift your spirits!
Practical Ways to Deal with SAD
- Try supplementing with vitamin D
- Reframe your thoughts about the wintertime. Eventually, the positive thoughts you encourage will become your actual frame of mind.
- Bundle up and try to get out of the house, even on cooler days, to get ample exposure to natural light.
- Open your shades to allow natural sunlight in.
- As the winter wears on, many of us can feel like withdrawing from our social lives. Be mindful of how much social interaction you’re getting and call a friend anyway!
- While exercising outside gives you the dual benefit of natural light exposure and physical activity, sometimes the weather can make that impossible. On those days, hitting the gym and choosing exercise equipment closer to the window is ideal.
- Maintaining good health through balanced, nutritious meals is essential in protecting yourself against SAD.
- Plan something you can look forward to! If the wintertime is historically difficult for your mood, try traveling to a warm destination. Sun exposure and warm weather can help lift your mood and be an exciting change to your routine.
If you think you might be suffering from SAD, contact our office! Our goal is to treat these problems holistically so you can take control of your health.