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.