Seasonal Affective Disorder- Ask Marisa How to Combat
Seasonal Affective Disorder AKA SAD
This week I got a question on Twitter about something I imagine a lot of people are beginning to experience, perhaps even unknowingly: seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. This is a fitting acronym as many people feel a general sense of sadness when they’re experiencing this condition, people also refer to it as winter depression. SAD is a seasonal depression that usually sets in around this time of the year. It can make you feel moody and zap your energy. Unfortunately, it can last as long as the grey weather does, as its primary cause is lack of light.
People can express SAD in varying degrees, but for people that suffer severely from it, it can have negative knock on effects like leading you to eat unhealthy food (especially carbs), stay inside all day in bed, or not doing anything productive. These actions in turn exacerbate the condition. If you’re experiencing SAD, it’s best to be proactive and in many ways treat it like you would treat depression. You must eat foods that give you a serotonin boost, such as turkey, eggs, coriander, and banana.
Exercise also immensely helps boost serotonin and even though it’s probably the last thing you feel like doing when it’s cold and grey out, even 15-20 minutes on a treadmill in doors will help. On days when the sun does shine through a bit (even if it’s just a peak) make sure to wrap up warm and get outside for a walk. The natural light will do wonders to improve your mood. If you have a severe case of Seasonal Affective Disorder, I would recommend getting a light box that can be purchased to mimic the kind of sunlight you are missing out on in the winter months (usually they’re around 300 watts). They can be quite pricey, but if you’re suffering severely it may be worthwhile.
Like many things in life, we cannot control the weather, but we can control how we respond to it. Sometimes a shift in perspective from “I hate how cold it is outside” to “I’m lucky to have a warm home and plenty to eat” can make you realise that winter will pass. Do something nice for someone who doesn’t have it as good as you do (perhaps buy a hot drink for someone or donate some food) and you will get a boost in serotonin and shift in your perspective.