Fall is upon us: pumpkin spice everything, falling leaves, Friday night lights, and that crisp fresh feeling of colder weather is creeping in. Except here in Iowa, we’ve hit a record high temperature for this time in September. Nevertheless, the days are becoming shorter and winter will be here before we know it. Now, I love fall but I work two jobs and as the days get shorter then so does the amount of time I get to be outside enjoying the sunlight. So what could that mean for me as well as you or anyone else during the colder seasons? It means that at least 4-6% of our population develops Seasonal Affective Disorder a.k.a. SAD a.k.a. the “winter blues” and another 20% have symptoms in relation to it.
Seasonal affective disorder is most common in areas further away from the equator in places with longer and colder winters and is also most common in women. Season affective depression happens at the same time every year so it can happen during summer too. There is no definite reason as to why the winter blues develop but it is believed to be lack of sunlight which can change your biological clock, or cause a change in your brain chemicals according to Mayo Clinic. SAD symptoms include having a low mood, hopelessness, anxiety, loss of energy, social withdrawal, oversleeping, weight gain, and having no motivation. If you’re anything like me, you have better things to do then letting seasonal depression get the best of you.
Here’s some things that you should do to help manage any of those symptoms and the sooner you start them then the more helpful they will be. The best time to start is before the symptoms appear in fall or winter. Check them out:
- Get more sunlight! You get Vitamin D from the sun and it has been shown to help with mood overall! If you can’t make it outside then a light box would be a great investment for you or light bulbs that mimic natural light. If you can't get outdoors, make sure you are supplementing with oral Vitamin D.
- Get organized. Being organized can help reduce stress that may build up during this time
- Stay active and exercise. Not only is exercise great for your body but it can help release those feel good chemicals that increase happiness
- Make sure your diet is healthy. Clean eating is good for your health and body
- Socialize and get out of the house. Go to a pumpkin patch or find something you outside of the house you can do
- Meditate. It is good for your mind, body, and your soul. Meditation can help you to relax and reduce any SAD symptoms including anxiety or loss of energy for example
- Chiropractic care. Chiropractic care can help the communication between your brain and body by correcting any misalignments or subluxations in your spine which can help with all of the SAD symptoms
Other professional help from a doctor or psychotherapist may help too
“The opposite of depression is not happiness but vitality.” -Andrew Solomon
the state of being strong and active; energy.
"changes that will give renewed vitality to our democracy"
-- liveliness, life, energy, spirit, vivacity, exuberance, buoyancy, bounce, elan, verve, vim, pep, brio, zest, sparkle, dynamism, passion, fire, vigor, drive, punch
"the bright weather has revived my vitality"
the power giving continuance of life, present in all living things.
"the vitality of seeds"
Don’t let depression get the best of you; do what you can to maintain your vitality.