Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is, in fact, depression caused by the change of the season. It begins and ends at the same time every year, usually commencing in the fall and ending in spring.
Besides making you feel depressed, SAD also displays other symptoms such as low energy levels, sleepiness, weight gain, increased appetite and losing interest in doing the things that you once enjoyed. You might also feel irritable, worthless and anxious.
Although scientists believe that SAD is common in cold and darker areas of the planet, the disorder can affect anyone from anywhere, especially those who spend a lot of time inside their house or office.
There are several natural remedies, as well as lifestyle changes that can help you cope with the situation and eliminate some of the SAD symptoms.
- Get Enough Sun
Sun exposure promotes the release of endorphins and Vitamin D, enhancing mood and your energy levels. While at home, leave the drapes open and put large mirrors on the walls. Trim the trees and bushes around your windows and place your working desk in front of a window. You can also choose light therapy, which although it is not cheap, it can help you get rid of SAD.
- Have Some Exercise
Exercising helps your body produce the happy hormones or endorphins. Try to spend at least 20 minutes per day to exercise outdoors, to also benefit from the sunlight. You will also keep your weight under control.
- Be Active
If only the thought of working out makes you feel exhausted and more miserable, then engage in physical activities that you like: painting, reading, playing chess, writing poems, etc. Keep your mind busy and fill your heart with joy. Choose activities that will help you spend time with your family and friends.
- Ditch Caffeine
Your first instinct when you feel sluggish and down is to reach for a cup of hot coffee. Believe it or not, this will do more harm than good. You will end up feeling more depressed once the caffeine in your bloodstream fades away. Also stay away from energy drinks and sodas. Choose water or tea instead. You can add some honey and some lemon juice if you want.
- Eliminate Sugar
Similar to caffeine, sugar does give you a sudden energy boost, but then it makes you feel down once it’s out of your system. It’s not just about the sugar you add to your tea or coffee, but also about that delicious cake, muffins, chocolate or ice cream which will make you fat and depressed.
- Count on Herbs or Essential Oils
Essential oils and some herbs have proved to be beneficial in warding off SAD symptoms. The passionflower or St. John’s wort can help in getting rid of anxiety and depression. You can add lavender, chamomile or ylang-ylang essential oil to your hot bath. Or you can massage them on your skin, smell them or fill the room with them.
There are numerous options to fight SAD. Try them, and you’ll enjoy autumn and winter without feeling cranky, jumpy and annoyed by everything around you.