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Avoid The Wintertime Blahs!

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What is it with wintertime and the blahs! Well maybe you have heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder also known as SAD. This is when you feel down in the dumps when the weather is a little on the dreary side.

SAD is a type of winter depression that affects an estimated half a million people every winter between September and April, in particular during December through March. It is caused by a biochemical imbalance in the hypothalamus due to the shorter days, less daylight hours, and lack of sunlight in winter.

The symptoms of SAD usually reoccur regularly each winter, starting between September and November and continuing until March or April. A diagnosis of SAD is made after a person experiences this type of depression or low feelings for three consecutive months, or for several years in a row each winter.

The symptoms include:

Sleep problems: Desire to oversleep, difficulty staying awake, in some cases, disturbed sleep and early morning wakening.

Fatigue: Tired, an inability to carry out normal activities without feeling worn out.

Overeating: Craving foods or junk food high in carbohydrates and simple sugars.

Depression: Feelings of misery, guilt, and loss of self-esteem. Some experience hopelessness and despair, when normally they are able to cope with daily tasks and problems well.

Social Problems: Desire to avoid social contact.

Anxiety: Not able to handle stress or stressful situations.

Loss of Libido: Decreased interest in sex and physical contact.

Mood changes: Moods fluctuate quickly.

Immune System: More prone to illness and infections.

Here is what you can do to give yourself a bit of a boost!

1. One treatment suggestion that appears to have helped the greatest number of people is called the “light box”. Light therapy has proved to be effective in up to 85% of the cases.
2. Avoid major stressful changes if possible.
3. Eat properly with little or no sugar, and little or no processed white starchy foods. Increase the fiber, protein, fruits, and veggies in your diet. Add more nuts, seeds and good fats like olive oil, avocados, flax seeds and fish oil.
4. Add B-Complex to your supplement arsenal.
5. Add more daily exercise (outside if you can).
6. 5HTP an amino acid will help you sleep and lift your spirits – take in the evening.
7. St. Johns Wort is an herbal remedy which has shown to be effective. Do not use this supplement in conjunction with another antidepressant unless consulting your medical provider.
8. Take Vitamin D3, probably one of the most important things you can do for mood during the winter. Have your Vitamin D level checked and then supplement to get your level up to the optimal range.
9. It may also be of great benefit to have your hormone levels tested and balanced during this time.
Good luck, and keep lookin’ up!
Nisha Jackson PhD, MS, WHCNP, HHP

Nisha Jackson is one of the nation's leading bioidentical hormone & wellness experts. She is the host of the nationally syndicated radio program "Just Ask Nish", author, columnist, lecturer, and continues to be in high demand in her Southern Oregon- based specialty practices. With no hidden agendas Nish, as she is known by her radio audience, is relentless to uncover health solutions that work. If it's safe, effective and good for you, it's good medicine!

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EmpowHER Guest

This article listed several good ways to cope with SAD. It did not mention pharmaceutical treatment and psychotherapy, especially if the above treatments do not work or do not work very well. The sad reality is that health insurance is more likely to pay for pharmaceutical treatment and psychotherapy than alternative methods.

October 26, 2010 - 10:04am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.