Many people have what they refer to as the “Wintertime blues.” This is when a person feels sad for seemingly no reason, mostly during the winter season. However, there is a reason, and it is usually due to seasonal affective disorder (SAD.)
In 2020, SAD is made worse due to stresses from a pandemic. That’s why it’s important that you seek help now. Don’t wait for a vaccine or for the season to pass.
Why Does SAD Happen?
SAD is usually caused by a storm of several things. Let’s discuss what these are.
The biggest cause of SAD is the lack of sunlight. In some areas, the sun can set before 5 PM. For some people who have certain shifts, they may see little sunlight. Sunlight gives vitamin D, helps to regulate our sleep/wake cycles, and can be a natural antidepressant. It makes sense that someone may feel depression.
Exercising can be a natural antidepressant, helping one to focus while releasing endorphins. Unless you are a gym rat or you like to run all year, you may be moving around a lot less. This can contribute to SAD.
In wintertime, we may oversleep. Getting sleep is good for the mind, but having too much sleep can be bad for us and increase our risk of depression. Alternatively, there are cases where a person may have difficulties falling asleep this time of year. Not to mention, you tend to produce more melatonin during the winter, which can make you sleepy.
While Mother Nature plays a big role in SAD, so does your personal life. We are living in a pandemic currently, and many of us are stressed, feel cooped up, or are dealing with other issues. This can certainly make your illness worse.
SAD has similar symptoms to depression. Obviously, the biggest depression symptom is when you are feeling sad all day for multiple days. However, irritability can be another symptom.
You may feel like you are less interested in what you used to love. You may have thoughts of dread. In some cases, it can be difficult for you to move or get out of bed. You may fall out of routine.
Overeating is another symptom of SAD. Combined with all the holiday foods, and you may see weight gain. This can lead to body issues and make your issues worse. You may also drink more, leading to other problems.
There are many reasons why SAD can be debilitating, and it’s important to seek help should you suspect that you have it. Symptoms tend to go away with the changing seasons, but do not think that will necessarily be the case. Besides that, it’s important for you to treat your symptoms whenever possible.
Treating SAD can involve several lifestyle changes, and in some cases seeking professional help.
It’s important for you to live a healthy lifestyle if you are afflicted with SAD. Work out at least a half hour a day. If you can’t go to a gym, do some crunches. Bundle up and run outside. Lifestyle changes can also include you eating a balanced meal and getting the correct amount of sleep.
Having a routine is also a good treatment for SAD. Make a schedule and stick to it. However, don’t beat yourself up too much if you mess up.
Finally, the sun plays a big part in treating SAD. Open your blinds and get some sun in, or spend some time outside. If you can’t do either, invest in a therapy lamp. This can give you artificial sunlight that mimics the light of the sun.
Seeking Professional Help
SAD is something that you may want to speak with a therapist about. In severe cases, a combination of therapy and medication can help you.
Medication can help alleviate symptoms, while therapy can help you get back on a routine. You can learn mindfulness strategies, learn how to plan goals, and have a treatment regimen that is tailored for your personality.
With everything going on, one solution you should look into is online therapy. You can speak to a therapist remotely and get the help you need that way. By talking to a therapist through video chat, you can get the right amount of care. For more information, click here.
SAD is not something to treat lightly. By getting help and helping yourself, you can survive the harshness of winter, guaranteed.