The holiday celebrations are over, your tree is composting, and the cheery Christmas music is no longer playing. For many this is a time where Seasonal Affective Disorder a.k.a. “Seasonal Blues” can begin to sneak up on you. What is Seasonal Affective Disorder you may ask? Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that affects some people at the same time every year (usually winter). In fact, half a million Americans are thought to suffer from SAD each winter. Symptoms of SAD include moodiness, lack of energy, and low thoughts.
Here in Michigan, we get lots of snow, very cold temperatures, and the sun is not something we see much of in the winter months, resulting in many sufferers. You may even work with a handful! There are multiple ways you can attempt to beat Seasonal Affective Disorder this winter. We will take you through a few.
1. Sleep. It is important to stick to a consistent sleep schedule. Try to get 8 hours of sleep and not oversleep either. A few ways to ensure a better night’s sleep are cooler temperatures in a room, covering or removing electronic gadgets that emit lights, and stay away from caffeine six hours before bed time for your best sleep.
2. Go outside anyway. Although it may be chilly and cloudy, it is still important to get outside daily, even if only for 10 minutes. Light still pokes through the clouds and increases serotonin and dopamine levels.
3. Purchase a Sun Lamp. This is known as light therapy. Light therapy uses light boxes emitting full spectrum light similar in composition to sunlight. Thirty minutes a day in front of this light can boost mood naturally. To learn more about light therapy visit http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03222/Light-Therapy.html.
Remember there are multiple ways to try to beat the seasonal blues; you need to find what works best for you. Also keep in mind you can talk to your health care professional about SAD as they may have some helpful insight.