Even though Arizona is still sunny and warm during the day, the longer nights with the sun setting at 6 p.m. are hard to deal with. It makes doing anything after 6 p.m. difficult because it feels like it is hours later than it is. I am not the only one that has trouble adjusting to new seasons. One in five Americans have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and 75 percent are women, according to the American Psychiatric Association.
Dr. Frye at the Mayo Clinic offers four great tips for treating SAD:
1. Get outside. There is no substitute for natural light. If you work during the day, try to go for a walk during a break or lunch.
2. Light therapy boxes can help boost your mood when you’re unable to get outside.
3. Get regular exercise. It is best to move for at least 30 minutes, three times a week
4. Stay social. It is important to interact with family and friends regularly.
Following Dr. Frye’s advice will help fight the symptoms of SAD that include: Overeating, loss of energy, social withdrawal and trouble sleeping and concentrating. Dr. Frye explains that sunlight enters the brain through the eyes, stimulating the production of a neurotransmitter, serotonin, that supports nerve cell functioning, including mood. Less light results in lower serotonin levels. Darkness stimulates the production of melatonin, which promotes sleep. It’s the combination of less serotonin and increased amounts of melatonin that causes SAD.
I think the most effective way to treat SAD is to get outside. It is important to make this part of your daily routine. I like to eat my breakfast or lunch outside. It allows me to start my day with good vitamin D that puts me in a good mood for the rest of the day. Lunch outside is nice too because it allows me to get sunshine and splits up my busy day inside at the office.