If the shorter days and colder weather has made you feel irritable, tired and sad for no reason – you may be experiencing seasonal depression. Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that’s common in the winter months. It can affect your mood, appetite, sleep, energy level and even take a toll on your relationships.
- Feeling sad or depressed all day, nearly every day
- Lack of energy
- Changes in appetite and weight
- Greater need for sleep
- Loss of interest in things you normally enjoy
- Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
Although it’s not known for sure, experts believe SAD could be caused by:
- Disruption in circadian rhythm. Your body’s biological clock responds to changes between light and dark to regulate your sleep, mood and appetite. The shorter days of winter disrupt this internal clock, which can cause you to feel fatigued.
- Hormonal changes. Less sunlight in the winter months can cause a drop in your serotonin levels, a chemical that affects mood.
Here are some ways to combat SAD this winter:
1. Get Moving
Most people spend less time outdoors in the winter time, which means they aren’t getting as much physical activity. Pushing yourself to exercise can help regulate your mood and release endorphins. If it’s too cold to exercise outside, try indoor activities such as going to the local gym or taking a fitness class.
2. Get some light
Since one of the triggers for SAD is a shortage of light, it only makes sense that getting some extra sunshine will help boost your mood. Sit by a sunny window, take a walk or use artificial light (EX: invest in a light box).
3. Social Interaction
Don’t let yourself stay cooped up inside all winter. Make plans with friends and family, join a club and regularly connect with others. Social interaction will boost your mood and keep you busy.
4. Eat a healthy diet
Even though symptoms of SAD can cause you to indulge in a lot of comfort foods, it’s best to stick to eating small, well-balanced meals throughout the day, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Eating healthy will help you keep your energy up and minimize mood swings.
5. Seek professional help
If you can’t beat the feelings of SAD, speak to a professional to see what other options there are. You may be a candidate for antidepressants, but keep in mind that it may take weeks before you feel noticeable different. At our clinics, we offer a cutting-edge treatment that gives patients instant relief and makes them feel themselves again. Ketamine Infusion Therapy could help you feel better – learn more at KetaminePUC.com or call (615) 457-3864.