It's coming. For some it's already here. Days are shorter, nights are longer, temperatures are dropping, skies aren't as sunny anymore. It's snowing lots, raining more and in general, just plain miserable. But not just for a week or a month but for a whole season. What does all that mean for some? It means that some of us are going to slip into a depression. This depression is more commonly known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. And it sucks. Plain and simple.
I'm fortunate in that I don't suffer from SAD but I do know of a few people that do and I truly feel for them. I couldn't imagine being depressed for a whole season. I did a bit of research on the to pic out of curiosity and it's a lot more serious than I thought. Ironically, some people don't even know that this is what's happening to them and they blame their depression on day to day circumstances and other life issues.
1. Low to no energy.
If you notice a sudden drop in energy level don't blame it on the fact that you've been working too hard. If you are feeling this drop every day, you could possibly have SAD. Try to make sure you are eating healthy and nutritious meals. Stay away from too much sugar, fried foods or pasta. These foods have a tendency to make us crash, just adding to our lethargy. Drink lots of water, and eat healthy. This will fuel you and keep you hydrated.
2. Crankier than usual.
If you notice your temper has become short and you h ave no patience for things that never used to bother you, you could be SAD. The lack of daylight just might be doing this to you. It's no secret that Vitamin D is the happy vitamin and since you aren't getting as much of that anymore, you could have a wee bit of a deficiency. Try to get out during the day to get as much sunlight as you can. There are also many natural Vitamin D supplements available at the health food stores. Though I am not a huge advocate for tanning beds and I believe everything in moderation, hitting the tanning salon once every 3 weeks or so for 10 minutes just might do the trick too.
3. No desire to socialize.
You'd much rather stay in under the blankets and sulk or just not be around people. Dinner with friends sounds about as exciting as having a root canal. You simply don't want to leave the comforts of your home, at all. You should try to at least go for a coffee with a friend. A quick in and out sort of thing. Social interaction is still very important. If you can't bring yourself to do that, then a phone call might be all you need to get you out of your slump.
4. Comfort food.
It's so easy to reach for all the crappy junk food whilst we are in our pj's sulking the shitty weather and wishing it away quickly. You should try to avoid doing that. As a matter of fact, when you go shopping, stay out of the junk food aisles. These foods will do nothing for your mood or your waistline. Remember winter is long. Choose the healthier options if you are feeling like staying in and noshing for 4 months. Air popped popcorn, hummus and veggies, frozen yoghurt, you get the idea. Your thighs, hips and butt will thank you for it come May.
5. Feeling of depression daily.
You are just sad, every single day. Rightfully so, the weather is horrible. You don't want to go out, you want to stay in and eat crap all day and have no desire to interact. The best thing to do in cases like this is try to do at least one thing daily that makes you happy. Pick your favourite thing which could be knitting, singing, dancing, reading, etc. do it every day for at least 30 minutes. Another great thing to do is nap. When you feel really low, go lay down for 20 minutes or so. You'll be surprised how great this will make you feel.
SAD is not to be taken lightly (pardon the bad pun). If you have SAD and find natural ways to alleviate it do not help, you should seek the advice of your doctor. Sometimes a mild antidepressant is all that is required to get you through this season. I always say, try the natural way first .
Do you suffer from SAD? How do you deal with it? Share with our readers.