Combating Depression, the Change of Seasons

I’ve noticed recently the marked changes in daylight as summer has ended.  While some folks have been looking forward to their pumpkin spice lattes, others dread the lack of extended sunlight.  For those with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), some professionals have proposed it may stem from too much mPhoto by Glenda Oteroelatonin, which is produced naturally.  Light therapy can work if melatonin is the main cause of SAD, because light controls melatonin levels.  Some people still try antidepressants; however, they are not specific to winter depression.  Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder are weight gain and increased appetite; sleepiness and sleeping longer hours; lack of focus or ability to concentrate; decreased energy; withdrawing from social events; and feeling unhappy and irritable.  If you are interested in light therapy, talk to your primary care physician about how the light boxes work.  Psychotherapy is also recommended as it can help you identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors that may be making you feel worse. With therapy you can also learn healthy ways to cope with SAD and manage daily stress.

Great tips to help combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD):

  1. Exercise: including this in a daily routine has been shown to reduce depression, anxiety, and symptoms of SAD.  Exercising outdoors is even more beneficial.
  2. Spending time outside: Being outside in the natural sunlight.
  3. Keep your eating habits in mind: With SAD you may find yourself wanting to snack more on junk food.  Try to keep your kitchen stocked with fresh fruit, vegetables, berries, nuts and foods made with whole grains.
  4. Avoid alcohol:  There is a strong link between alcohol and depression; even one drink can leave you feeling down.
  5. Sit near a window to increase your exposure to natural light.
  6. Participate in social activities at least once a week.

Follow a routine sleep schedule and try not to take naps so that your regular night time routine is not disrupted.

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