Fall is here. It’s actually feeling a bit more like winter…the current temperature is 36°F, and some cities not far from me woke up to snow this morning.
I have no love for this time of year. I’d love to live somewhere that is 80°F and sunny every damn day. Sweaters and boots are not my jam. I like my leaves green and on trees. You can buy pumpkin year round…please tell me you knew that. I thrive in the sun. Without it, I am left lethargic; un-energized; and depressed. Aaaaand, here comes SAD. SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder (aka the Winter Blues). SAD is a kind of depression that occurs as the seasons change, due to changes in our circadian rhythm, and a drop in our bodies’ serotonin and melatonin levels. This is a very real condition that affects millions each year. The symptoms of SAD include:
- Tiredness or low energy
- Problems getting along with other people
- Hypersensitivity to rejection
- Heavy, “leaden” feeling in the arms or legs
- Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
- Weight gain
Sound familiar? Factors that increase your susceptibility to suffering from SAD include: being a woman, living far from the equator, and having a family history of SAD &/or clinical depression. There is a lot of science behind this, so I’ll insert some links at the end of this post, if you feel like getting geeky. For the sake of brevity, I’m just going to list some actions you can take to help keep you feeling lively and human until the sun comes back. For me, that’ll be June. No!!!!! God, no. No. NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
- Increase your Vitamin D- You’re most certainly not getting enough…over 1/2 of the world’s population is Vitamin D deficient. Yes, your body makes it’s own D, but ONLY after sun exposure. And I’m talking full sun, noon, no sunblock, no clothes- for 2 hours. You can take 1000 IU (units) per 25 pounds of body weight. You can safely take up to 10,000 IU per day.
- Light Therapy– I am currently writing this post in the glow of my light therapy box. Light therapy boxes emit full spectrum light, similar to sunlight, with the UV waves filtered out. Do NOT go to the tanning bed! UV light does not help with SAD. You simply turn on your lamp (preferably in the morning), and let your brain think that it’s getting some sun. This is the lamp I use: Light Therapy Box.
- Eat Properly- Eat a balance of protein, carbs, and fat. When it’s cold out, the last thing you want are smoothies and salads, but it’s important to feed your body the nutrients that are essential for hormone regulation (this includes mood regulating hormones).
- Exercise- I know, it’s difficult to get the motivation for exercise when it’s cold, rainy, and snowy. But, again, exercise helps increase your mood boosting hormones. If you can’t get outside or to the gym, there are tons of free workouts that you can find on YouTube. Many require no equipment.
- Limit stimulants- While not fun, limiting alcohol; caffeine; sugar; and technology are essential for getting your body ready for a good night’s sleep. And while you’re at it, try and stop all liquid consumption 1-2 hours before bed, so you’re not having to get up and go during the night.
- Aromatherapy– There are many essential oils that you can try to help boost your mood. Here’s a blend that I like that can be applied topically, or diffused: 2 drops EACH- ginger, peppermint, and anise; and 4 drops of lavender. If you’d like to try this blend topically, mix the 10 drops into 35mL of a carrier oil.
- Seek professional help- If your feelings of depression become more than you can handle, ask for help. It takes a strong person to admit that they are not an island!
Medical Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. This post contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website