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4 Simple Tips to Help Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder

December 4, 2020

Autoimmunity

I'm your dedicated autoimmune wellness coach. My mission is to empower you to thrive despite the challenges posed by autoimmune conditions, so you can lead your fullest life.

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What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

It’s that time of year again—a time of cool breezes, colored leaves and holiday preparation. Fall and winter are exciting times, unless you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). If you struggle with winter depression, this time of year is not filled with joy and anticipation. Instead, you probably feel like hiding under the covers until spring arrives in several months.

Everyone has the blues now and then. But SAD is a depressive state that occurs seasonally, year after year, usually in the fall and winter. If you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder you may feel perfectly normal during the spring and summer months, but starting around October or November, symptoms begin showing up. Because this type of depression comes and goes with the seasons, you may wonder if it is all in your head. It isn’t. This is a real condition and can have a devastating impact on your life.

Researchers still don’t know the exact cause of SAD, but there are some factors that seem to be involved, and they involve the decreased amount of sunlight that fall and winter bring.

 

What are the Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal Affective Disorder will often manifest itself as feelings of sadness or depression. You may feel as though you cannot get enough sleep—struggling to get out of the bed in the morning, feeling drowsy during the day and going to… Share on X

Your energy and concentration may also run low, and this can affect your productivity at work and at home. Of course, not having the energy to ‘get things done,’ only leads to frustration and more feelings of depression. You may also notice weight gain. Typically, Seasonal Affective Disorder sufferers will crave foods high in carbohydrates and can gain between 9 and 30 pounds each year.

Finally, your social life may suffer. If you are depressed, you just won’t enjoy being around others as much as you used to. This can turn into social withdrawal which makes your feelings of depression and sadness even worse.

 

Ways to Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder

If you think that you may be one of the millions of people who are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder, you will be happy to know that you have many treatment options available. Try experimenting with different treatments until you find one or a combination that works for you:

  1. Light therapy: Up to 85% of winter depression sufferers are helped by simply sitting under a therapy light. The bright light stabilizes the out-of-balance chemicals in your body, helping you to feel less depressed and more like yourself. The best lights are those between 2,500 and 10,000 lux.
  2. Vitamin D3: Vitamin D is frequently referred to as “The Sunshine Vitamin” because your body produces it when exposed to sunlight. In fact, just 20-30 minutes of sunlight will produce 10,000 – 50,000 IUs of Vitamin D. Why is this important? Vitamin D is actually a hormone that has important roles in supporting a healthy heart, cellular replication, immune system, mood & mental health, muscles, blood sugar levels, and more!
  3. Exercise: Exercise is a powerful player in the fight against Seasonal Affective Disorder. When you exercise, your body releases “feel good” chemicals called endorphins. These chemicals cause you to feel happy, confident and bring about a feeling of well-being. The elated feelings that endorphins bring are comparable to the feelings that morphine and heroin create. To release endorphins, you will need to sustain your workout for about 30 minutes.
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  4. Dawn Simulators: Unlike the spring months, in which the light of dawn and dusk changes gradually, the winter months bring a much more abrupt change of light. This may be one of the aggravators of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Try a dawn simulator. These appliances can be programmed, much like an alarm clock, to gradually brighten your room each morning before you wake up. Some Seasonal Affective Disorder sufferers have had great success with dawn simulators.

You are not alone if you are beginning to feel depressed with the shortened days that we are experiencing. Experiment with some of the treatment options and especially start exercising. Before you know it, the days will begin lengthening out again.  However, none of the above should take the place of seeking out help from a licensed mental health professional.

If you are looking for more tips and support, join me over on my group page, The Village – A Natural HEALing Community, to get tons of information and tips to help you take your HEALTHY EATING and ACTIVE LIVING to the next level.

HEAL GOOD. FEEL GOOD. DO GOOD.

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Hi, Jamie Nicole

I'm a certified autoimmune health coach, fitness instructor, life coach, health equity advocate and your go-to chic for turning setbacks into comebacks. 

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I'm an autoimmune warrior, health coach, fitness instructor, life coach, health equity advocate and your go-to chic for turning setbacks into comebacks. 

I am your committed autoimmune wellness coach, dedicated to the restoration of your well-being. My mission is to equip you with the tools and guidance needed to thrive, even in the face of autoimmune challenges, enabling you to reclaim and lead your fullest life.

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