Many people love this season’s time change. Gaining an hour? That’s always nice. But with shorter days and chilly weather, are you tempted to stay in? Do you find yourself feeling moody and lethargic? Would you rather curl up on the couch and watch a movie, indulging in the exciting lives that your favorite characters experience rather than experiencing something yourself? You’re not alone. In fact, these feelings are really common—especially in the winter months. But you don’t have to hide in your home until spring returns. We have some great tips to help you thrive through this season.
Sad. That may be one way you describe your feelings during fall and winter. Sure, there are many things to anticipate. Family gatherings, holiday parties, decorating, shopping, gift giving, cooking, and lots of eating. But, if you’re being honest, that list may also stress you out. You think of all the things that need to be accomplished, all of the hustle and bustle that’s soon to take place and you’d rather, well, not. You’d rather grab your favorite box of cookies or the leftover halloween candy, a mug of your favorite warm beverage, and sit. It sounds cozy at first, but giving in to the urge to to do nothing, to stay inside, to avoid being social, may actually be a sign that you are experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder—also known as SAD.
SAD is a type of depression that ebbs and flows with the seasons. While some people experience SAD in the spring and summer months, it is most common among young adults in the fall and winter months. This is linked to the reduction of sunlight that affects the serotonin and melatonin levels that lead to changes in your mood and your ability to sleep well. Both of these symptoms lead to depression among a host of other symptoms.
Symptoms Of Seasonal Affective Disorder
Other symptoms linked to SAD include:
- Feelings of depression nearly every day
- Losing interest in activities you typically enjoy
- Difficulty sleeping
- Lack of energy
- Craving foods high in carbohydrates
- Feeling lethargic, irritable, hopeless, or worthless
- Thoughts of suicide
If you’ve experienced Seasonal Affective Disorder in the past, you may understand that these feelings are temporary, so you just wait it out until spring shows up again. However, if you’re symptoms last longer than a few days, we encourage you to talk to your doctor. Feelings of depression or suicidal thoughts need to be addressed. We also want to encourage you to try some things that may help you overcome the symptoms related to SAD.
Tips To Overcome SAD
When you have a lack of energy and a lack of desire to do anything—especially when it’s cold and gloomy outside—the last thing you want to do is get out of bed and go outdoors. We’ve been there, too. But if you can muster up what energy you do have, and try some of these tips, we’re certain you can beat the “winter blues.”
- Increase your exposure to natural light. Go outside, open the blinds, sit by a window.
- Exercise. Even just 30 minutes a day will increase your energy, your ability to focus, and boost your mood.
- Eat healthy, balanced meals. Craving carbs and sugars? You’re only feeding lethargy. Grab some fresh fruits and veggies instead.
- Manage your stress. Don’t let tasks go unaccomplished until you feel paralyzed and overwhelmed. Tackle your to-do list one item at a time.
- Talk to someone. Hibernating alone will only make you feel more isolated. Talk to a therapist if your mood swings and feelings of depression become too much.
Don’t waste these winter months feeling sad. If you experience symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder and want to know if there are medication options, or if you are having thoughts of major depression and suicide, contact us at The Woman’s Clinic today. If left untreated, symptoms of SAD can get worse. We want to help you overcome these often debilitating changes in your mood so that you can enjoy this season just as much as you enjoy the summer months.