Feeling SAD?: Let's Talk About Seasonal Depression.
An essential guide that brings awareness to Seasonal Affective Disorder and how to adjust to seasonal change.
Have you been feeling drowsy lately? Has the spirit of laziness overtaken your body where you desire rest instead of productivity? Feeling irritable? Don't want to engage in any social activities? Can't seem to shake a depressing-like mood? Well, you're not alone my friend. With the change in weather and the recent end of Daylight Savings Time, you may feel as though you're experiencing the "winter blues". But there is a professional term known for people who are affected by the change in seasons. It's known as Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Why am I sad?
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a clinical depression that is presented during the late autumn and winter months, presumed to be caused by colder temperatures and the lack of sunlight. Also known as seasonal depression, SAD can present an array of symptoms with depression being the most common. Other signs of SAD include fatigue, social withdrawal, anxiety and more. These symptoms can be overwhelming and affect things in your daily life such as your sleeping patterns, emotions, thinking, appetite, and energy levels.
According to Psychology Today, it is estimated that SAD affects 10 million Americans where symptoms are four times more common in women than men. It should also be noted that your chances of getting SAD decrease as you get older (American Family Physician).
As we're still in the middle of a pandemic, we could potentially see a rise in SAD cases this year due to everyone working from home and being advised to stay indoors. This may serve as a challenge for most of us. So what can we do to help alleviate symptoms of seasonal depression? Read below where I detail various essentials to help brighten your mood during the coming months.
SAD Essentials Guide:
Open your blinds. Allowing natural light to enter into your room can significantly boost and maintain your mood throughout the day. Opening the blinds all throughout my home has been a part of my morning routine for as long as I can remember. Also, studies have shown that using light therapy tools such as light therapy lamps can offer an effective treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder. Carex Day-Light Classic Plus Bright Light Therapy Lamp is one of the best light therapy lamps for SAD.
Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is very beneficial for your overall health.
Exercise. Of course this is a given! Getting your body to actively move, even as little as 30 minutes a day, will definitely help to brighten your mood. Exercising releases "feel good" energy and increases the brain's dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels—all of which affect focus and attention (HelpGuide).
Wake up earlier. If you would like to experience more daylight, start waking up earlier than your normal hours.
Turn up the heat! As I was conducting my research about SAD, I came across a woman who mentioned that she utilizes a smart plug to turn on her fireplace in the morning which makes it easier for her to get out of bed. This is such a smart idea because I find it so difficult to get up in the morning if my room is cold. I'll link a smart plug here.
Take vitamin D. According to the Insider, vitamin D can help regulate moods as well as build a healthy immune system and fight diseases. Studies have shown that vitamin D3 supplements may be superior in raising the body's vitamin D levels. I plan to purchase Nordic Naturals Zero Sugar Vitamin D3 Gummies as they are rated among the Top Vitamin D3 Supplements in 2020.
Watch what you eat. Try to incorporate healthier food items such as fruits, vegetables, and grilled foods into your diet. Eating fried or processed foods can lead to lethargy.
Journal. I'll forever promote journaling, do you hear me? Forever! But no seriously, write down your current mood or emotions. Write about what you can do or did to help reverse any negative feelings.
Meditate. Another key essential that I'll probably promote forever as well.
Participate in spiritual or religious activities. There's nothing but good energy whenever I am blasting my favorite Gospel songs. Playing Kirk Franklin's Essentials on Apple Music will be sure to put you in a good mood.
Talk to a therapist if you notice that your symptoms are becoming too much to bare.
It's your sowing season.
I hope that my 11 essentials will help you during this season. I, too, feel as though I have experienced a few symptoms of seasonal depression such as fatigue and irritability. As a result, I've had to adjust my coping methods of dealing with the sudden change in seasons. Along with utilizing my daily essentials above, I also had to change my perspective of this gloomy season as well.
Here are my thoughts: we have to understand that as the seasons change, so do we. Each season will bring you new opportunities—if you allow it— which may require an adjusted or new mindset. It also requires preparation. The Fall and Winter seasons can often be affective for planning your next move or the next chapter in your life. For me, this is what's known as my waiting period.
I'm currently planning the next step following my graduation in Spring 2021 (by the grace of God). I have begun to sow my seeds for this next chapter in my life while I patiently wait for God to make His move as well. Waiting is always the hard part. But just as it's important to figure out how you should move in your next season; it is as equally important to note how you move in your current season—during your waiting period. I've had to fight my symptoms of laziness and fatigue so that I can be ready for my seeds to bloom in the next season. Don't allow seasonal depression to stop you from being great! Be strong. Trust your intuition and trust God. Although you may not be able to control some symptoms of seasonal depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder, let's try to manage what we can control by implementing healthy, mood-boosting activities.
Colder days and longer nights can be draining, so be sure to allocate some extra time for self-care during these coming months. And don't worry, this won't be forever. The warmer season will be here before we know it. Just continue to try your best. As always, take care of yourselves and stay encouraged, friends!
"Do your best. Even if your best looks different every day." -Unknown
Xi's Takeaway Essentials:
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) also known as seasonal depression refers to the changes in mood and behavior due to shorter days and longer nights.
Implement my essentials in your daily routine to help you adjust to the change in seasons.
Remain positive. Summer will be here before we know it!