So, here we are. It’s the end of January. It’s cold. It’s snowy. The wind whips and dark comes early. Resolutions are more than likely out the window. The holidays are a distant memory and Spring feels like an out of reach dream.
Do you find yourself feeling down? Do you feel sluggish? Is it harder and harder to get out of bed in the morning? Is this something that happens to you every year around this time?
If so, you, like millions of others, could be suffering from S.A.D.—Seasonal Affective Disorder. (It does occur to me that S.A.D. also stands for the Standard American Diet, which is indeed sad, but that is a topic for another day).
If you are lucky enough to live in a warm climate, you can click away now. If it is summer where you live, you can read this for when your temps drop again.
S.A.D. affects different people in different ways. Some are mildly depressed, others have debilitating depression, while others still aren’t depressed but suffer from a severe lack of energy.
I suffer from self diagnosed S.A.D. A decade ago it started mildly enough, but every year it hits harder. I have lost a few winters to it.
Because it has gotten worse, I have gotten smarter about battling it. I now have a few tricks up my sleeve to keep the beast at bay. Here are some things to try if you are down with the Winter Blues:
—The obvious ones–eat a healthy diet, keep to a good sleep schedule, drink lots of water and stay active.
—Take a high quality fish oil and probiotic
—-Purchase a sun lamp or sun visor that simulates the sun. Use it for a half hour first thing in the morning. This helps your circadian system reset itself. (My visor has been the cause of much hilarity in my house. It shines green lights directly into my eyes. I take no small amount of grief from my children for looking like an alien. In addition to being the family laughingstock for the look, I also bang into things like I’m playing blind mans bluff. This of course, because even though the light makes it so I can’t see, I find it impossible to sit still for the half hour and continue to try and do things.)
—-Go outside. I know this sounds counter intuitive and I fought it for a long time, but getting out into the cold helps. Bundling up and getting your body into the actual sunlight helps regulate your system. The depression is worse when you stay cooped up inside all winter long (believe me, I tried it).
—-Hot yoga. A new addition this year. Going into a 90 degree room for an hour 3-5 times a week has been heavenly. It feels like summer, it helps with your dry skin and you get a good workout to boot. When it is so cold and miserable out, that hour of heat is something to look forward to.
—If possible, get out of Dodge. Go somewhere warm. Enjoy a getaway to reboot yourself and when you get home it will be that much closer to Spring. (This one isn’t happening for me this winter–oh well).
So far this year things have been alright. Mom and her alien light have yet to make an appearance. These preventative measures have really made a difference.
Do you or someone close to you suffer from S.A.D.? What are some things that you have done to combat it? I would love to hear from you.