Nowadays, many of us may experience a mood shift as the weather slowly shifts towards winter. Fall blues or winter blues are very common and affect a lot of people, but not everyone knows what that really is and may fail to find an explanation for what they feel. Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a form of seasonal depression that occurs usually during fall and winter. This disorder affects people on so many levels like sleeping and eating habits, how they feel, and how they run the day. The exact cause of this disorder remains unknown and unclear but some theories attribute it to the shortness of daytime and how this disrupts your circadian rhythm, your body’s 24-hour clock that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and how we function in between.
How to know you are under the blues or suffering from SAD?
• Change in sleeping patterns usually increased hours.
• Morning laziness and drowsiness.
• Fatigue, lack of energy, and reduced sex drive.
• Difficulty in concentrating and staying focused.
• Loss of interest in things you usually enjoy.
• Social withdrawal and lack of interest in engaging with people.
• Increased appetite, especially for carbs and sweets.
• Persistent low mood
• Irritability and over sensitivity.
How to overcome seasonal affective disorder?
• Get as much sunlight as possible. Expose yourself to some sunlight every day as it helps boost the serotonin level as well vitamin D which also when deficient can affect how we feel. Besides taking walks in the morning, allow as much natural light as possible to your home and workplace.
• Exercise regularly. Exercising reduces stress, improves sleep, and also boosts serotonin, endorphins, and all the feel-good brain chemicals. Include a little exercise in your daily routine even if it is just jogging or some home workouts.
• Eat the right food. While this mood grows the tendency to crave sugar and carve, it is important to be more conscious about the food you eat. Instead of all the unhealthy choices, opt for foods that are known to boost the mood such as dark chocolate, nuts, oatmeal, berries, coffee, as well as fatty fish.
• Take a break from the news and any source of negativity. Whether it’s the TV, social media, or even certain people and setups that bring your mood down, stay away from negative vibes or anything that drains your energy.
• Seek professional help. If all lifestyle modifications and altering your daily habits do not help nor provide you with some relief, consider seeking professional help for treatment.