We’ve got to set the clocks back dictators tell us so;
and suffer seasonal affective disorder
through the months of snow.
Many people find themselves less than happy and enthusiastic during the cold, dark winter months. For some, the inability to get involved with some of their favorite summer activities leaves them feeling bored and tired. Still others may become clinically depressed due to a condition called, Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. SAD is believed to be caused mainly by the decreased amount of sunlight from late fall and throughout the winter.
Get some light
Those who are sensitive to light and predisposed to depression are much more likely to suffer from it. The ions in the air are also different in springtime than they are in the winter, and several studies have shown that some of those ions may also be partially responsible for triggering SAD. Those with full-blown SAD are often treated with light therapy. This requires sitting in front of a source of bright light for 30 minutes or more each day. This treatment is often quite effective. And, it is advisable to try this type of therapy before seeking prescribed drugs. I use two such lights at my desk at home, so that I can be exposed to the light without any extra effort. While light box therapy is a wonderful thing, there are some other ways that you can help yourself to ward off wintertime depression. If yours is fairly mild, you may be able to keep it at bay by trying some of the following methods.
Walking has been shown to reduce the severity of winter depression. This is especially effective when done outside in the sunlight. If you don’t want to brave the elements, you can try walking on a treadmill or doing some other type of exercise near a sunny window. Getting out of the house for any activity at all can also prove to be beneficial. Cabin fever is extremely common during the winter months. And unless road conditions are hazardous, there is no reason why you can’t get out and have a little fun. If all else fails, take a lesson from watching children. They can always find something to do outside in the snow, whether it’s building a snowman or sleigh riding.
Eat the Right Foods
A healthy diet is an important weapon in the battle against seasonal depression. Getting the proper amount of vitamins and minerals into your diet will help your mind and body perform more effectively and efficiently. A diet high in caffeine, fat and sugar, on the other hand, can often make matters worse. Of particular benefit to those with SAD is the amino acid tryptophan. Eating tryptophan rich foods such as fish, turkey, bananas, nuts and avocados can help boost serotonin levels. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that people who have depression may not have enough of. Serotonin is made of tryptophan.
Herbal Therapy Herbs have been used to successfully treat depression for many years. St. John’s Wort and Gota kola are two herbals that are frequently used for depression. Tea made of licorice root, St. John’s Wort and ginseng may be prescribed by your herbalist for use SAD. These can help boost your energy levels and improve your mood.
SAD can be debilitating. Treating this disorder doesn’t necessarily require the use of prescribed drugs which may have dangerous side effects. Some lifestyle modifications may be all that is needed to get you back on your feet during the winter months.
What methods do you use to get yourself out of the winter blues? Related articles
photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stephenrobinsonphoto/3041674842/sizes/z/in/photostream/ Medical Disclaimer: The information in this article is to be used for general informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of, or in conjunction with, professional medical advice. If you have further specific questions you are urged to consult with your personal physician for additional information.