As we continue through these chilly winter months, seasonal depression seems to be at an all time high. The sun doesn’t seem to be out very often, and we’re deprived of some much needed natural Vitamin D.
Seasonal Depression, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is a type of depression that occurs at the same time each year, typically during the fall and winter months. Symptoms include fatigue, irritability, loss of interest in activities, and social withdrawal. While the exact cause of SAD is unknown, it is believed to be related to changes in sunlight exposure and the production of certain chemicals in the brain.
Fortunately, there are several effective treatments for SAD. Here are three simple ways to help with SAD:
- Light Therapy: Light therapy is a simple and effective treatment for SAD. You could use a light box that emits bright, full-spectrum light for 30 minutes to an hour a day, or using the Infrared Sauna here at RF is a great alternative! The idea behind light therapy is to regulate your circadian rhythm and improve mood. Light therapy has been shown to be as effective as antidepressant medication for many people with SAD. Using the Infrared Sauna is not only relaxing, but it is also a great way to imitate taking in some “sunshine” while listening to your favorite podcast, meditation music, or reading a book.
- Exercise: Regular physical activity is a great way to reduce symptoms of depression and improve overall well-being. Exercise releases endorphins, the body’s natural mood boosters, and helps to regulate the production of hormones that affect mood. It’s recommended to aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, every day. Being around others is always a great way to get your mind off the cold and dark winter months and is an immediate mood booster!
- Mindfulness and Self Care: Practicing mindfulness techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing, and even treating yourself (massage, manicure/pedicure/retail therapy, having your favorite dessert) can help change negative thought patterns and improve mood during the winter months. Sometimes life gets busy, and we will sometimes put ourselves and our wellbeing to the side. It’s so important to take time for you and your mental health, especially during winter.
In conclusion, SAD is a common and treatable form of depression that affects many people during the fall and winter months. Light therapy/Infrared Sauna, consistent exercise, and mindfulness and self-care are all effective treatments that can help alleviate symptoms and improve mood. If you are struggling with SAD, talking to your doctor or a loved one could help you cope through the tough winter months and get you back on the right path.