Have you ever noticed yourself feeling down just as winter sets in, with feelings of moodiness, sadness, or fatigue? Well, it’s not just you—millions of Americans experience what is called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, every single year. What’s more, it’s not your fault!
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), often called Seasonal Depression, is a legitimate physical ailment that occurs when winter sets in. It’s not necessarily the cold weather that causes SAD, however. If you live in a northern city that experiences shorter days during the winter season, shorter days means less opportunity to be in the sunlight.
Having less sunlight can impact some people’s circadian rhythm, which is better understood as the body’s biological clock that controls the specific brain waves and hormone production that govern your sleep-wake cycle, also known as your body clock! With less sunlight, your circadian rhythm can be thrown off, making you tired and causing feelings of sadness.
One of the best ways to shift your mood when you’re feeling down is to adopt an age old slogan: mind over matter!
There are millions of people across the world who live in place where it’s winter almost all year round. And, most people in the world live in a place where there are changes of seasons, and are able to get through the winter without suffering from winter depression. One great tip is to try and adapt to the climate you’re in by making it fun!
Unlike the summertime and warmer months that are filled with outdoor activities in the sunshine, the beach, short sleeved shirts and shorts, the winter is time to stay indoors. Many northern countries have cultures that are cultivated around the idea of coziness: sitting around a warm, lit fireplace with a chunky sweater, and maybe a hot tea or coco!
You can shop for cold weather gear to get in the wintry swing of things, and plan cold weather outings with your friends. Once you stop resisting the season and try to integrate into it, you might find that your down feelings start to fade into happy ones.
While some people absolutely love cozy cold mornings inside and the foggy grey skies that oftentimes accompany the winter season, some people are more inclined towards feeling happy in the sunshine and through sunny days. Sometimes, it can be the darker and greyer winter environment that brings up feelings of winter blues.
So, one thing you can do is choose to bring some brightness into your life! Even if you do not typically go for the brightly colored clothing in your regular wardrobe, seeing some bright colors and mentally make you feel like you are a few months into the future, when springtime comes and the flowers are blooming.
Did you know that the majority of the Vitamin D humans absorb comes from sunlight? That’s right, the sun’s rays are not only there to light up our days. They are also very important for our health, as it’s the Vitamin D in sunlight that keeps our bodies healthy on the day to day.
Because winter days are shorter than summer days, meaning there’s less time in the day to soak up sunshine, and because winter months are typically cold, meaning people spend more time indoors, one of the primary causes of seasonal depression is the decrease in amounts of Vitamin D people absorb during the winter. While many people are already adjusted to receiving less sun rays, some people’s bodies just need more.
So, if you are one of those people experiencing seasonal depression help is on the way! One thing you can do is get Vitamin D supplements from your nearest pharmacy or grocery store.
There are many diseases that are associated with a lack of Vitamin D, so if you decide to take these supplements, you are definitely not alone. The National Institute of Health recommends a dietary allowance of 600 inernational units (IUs) of Vitamin D a day. However, other medical practitioners recommend that adults can take up to 5,000 IUs of vitamin D a day!
Another way you can get vitamin D is through your diet. Foods that have high amounts of Vitamin D are: salmon, tuna, swordfish, milk, yogurt, sardines, eggs, and oats and cereals that say they are fortified with Vitamin D.
Technology these days have come up with fixes to all sorts of problems, and seasonal depression is not excluded! There are lamps and lights that exist that are specifically made as seasonal affective disorder light therapy options. So, there are plenty of avenues to explore with reguards to light therapy for depression.
These lights are oftentimes called SAD lamps, as in Seasonal Affective Disorder lamps. However, they are also oftentimes referred to another name, which is a play on those words to indicate the outcome of using these therapies: happy lamps!
Some of the top brands for SAD, or happy lamps are: Moodozi, Northern Light, Carex, Nature Bright, and Ciracdian Optics.
Of these brands, all of them offer lights that come in a range of shapes and sizes. You can find smaller desk lamps and huge room-illuminating lamps. Which lamp is right for you depends on your individual needs.
SAD lights are proven to alleviate symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, even with as little as 30 minutes of use two times a day, usually at the beginning and end of your day. However, you can use it as much as you’d like!
Oftentimes, getting up for work when it’s dark out can be a trigger for people who suffer from the winter blues. So, by having a SAD light at home, you can take in the vitamin D your body is missing from your usual sunny mornings.
Another reason why SAD lamps are highly recommended is because they are a much cheaper alternative to constant trips to the doctor or therapist.
Although you should never replace a need to see a doctor or talk to a professional with the SAD lights, spending some time in the light of your Vitamin D lamp can boost your mood and alleviate the feelings your winter blues oftentimes makes you feel.