The winter blues affect a lot of people right at the end of fall and beginning of winter. Seasonal depression is also known as seasonal affective disorder (abbreviated SAD). Although unknown specifically what causes SAD, there are factors that we know play a role. Some of the common symptoms of SAD are feeling lethargy, fatigue, depression, irritability, loss of sex drive, and poor sleep. Lifestyle changes may have to be implemented to combat these symptoms. The good news is if you manage to get the symptoms under control there is a chance they will not reoccur, granted you must maintain this lifestyle. Below are a few lifestyle choices that you could be doing to help yourself.
Some experts will recommend anti- depressants, we would rather promote the natural route. Different combinations or individual natural remedies can help; *Ashwagandha, CBD, St. John’s Wart, herbal teas, Kombucha, Elderberry syrup, Rhodiola Rosea, Valerian root and the list goes on.
A light therapy box replicates natural outdoor light, tricking the brain into thinking its outdoors. This results in an improved mood. For those who tend to be indoors a lot this is a great alternative to getting natural sunlight. There are even light therapy alarm clocks if your house does not get enough natural sunlight.
Depression, whether seasonal or not makes a schedule feel impossible to achieve. We strongly suggest mustering up the courage and developing discipline in maintaining or creating a ritual. Keep doing your workouts, eating your meals, etc. Even if you’re dragging your feet through the day. Its all about retaining your habits instead of falling in the hole.
Vitamin D, Zinc, Omegas, Vitamins B’s Magnesium are all essential whether from your diet or taking them as a supplement. They are important in providing energy and keeping your hormones in check. Giving your body what it needs affects you physically and mentally. if you cannot be bothered figuring out what to take, start off with a high-quality wholefood multi vitamin.
Try your best to stick to a sleep schedule which gives you enough sleep and takes advantage of the natural sunlight. You want to ensure that you are making the most of your daylight hours. Generally, 8 hours of sleep is recommended for recharging and maintaining mental health. Too much or too little affects us negatively, and we are all a little different. Do your best to maintain the same sleeping hours and see what works best for you.
Isolation worsens SAD or general depression, even though most people’s tendency is to be alone and sink into the couch or bed. Go out with friends or family, zoom meetings, call, text, chat. What ever it is you need to do, do it. For no individual has ever flourished without a community. Having responsibility makes us all better and more productive.
Being outdoors comes with a myriad of benefits such as stress relief, anxiety reduction and can even strengthen the immune system. Vitamin D absorption is one of the biggest reasons to go out, it regulates hormones and helps our body have a natural light switch. A 15-to-20-minute daily walk can significantly improve your mood, but of course the more the better.
If all else fails, therapy is a wonderful and respectable option. Whether using it in conjunction with self-help or as a last resort, therapists are individuals equipped to handle and give you coping mechanisms customized to your experience. It can be life changing, it’s a real-life diary that answers back.
Working out, practicing yoga, sports, etc. Most importantly is keep yourself moving. Physical exercise produces endorphins and boosts serotonin, which are responsible for the “feel good” part of the brain. Physical Exercise helps maintain health, improves memory and boosts energy levels. All important things that can contribute to the decrease of SAD. Do not set unrealistic expectations you will not be able to meet, you can try a lighter and easier workout instead or try it with a friend for additional motivation.
Craving junk comfort food is quite normal while experiencing SAD. Resist the urge and give yourself proper wholesome nutrition. Proteins, healthy fats and carbs and nutrient-packed veggies. Keeping Alcohol and other substances at bay is key. Alcohol is depressant and they are are loaded with sugar so they can worsen SAD. “Practice Moderation”
Other Worthy Mentions
Essentially keep busy with activities that will impact you positively, enjoy life presently.
Giving up when you are most down is exactly how you lose the fight. Do your absolute best, research, and learn. It is not a problem unless you’re ill- equipped to deal with it. Even if you’re down, stand and fight for tomorrow is a brand new day.
*Please consult professional medical advice before consuming anything