Living With Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder Symptoms
- A feeling of depression that lasts through-out the day and persists every day.
- Zero to no interest in activities that you normally enjoy
- Low energy and feelings of sluggishness.
- Trouble sleeping and concentrating.
- Craving carbohydrate-rich foods, appetite changes, and weight gain.
- A feeling of loss, guilt, or thoughts of death or suicide.
Managing and Treating Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Enjoy the morning sun. The morning sun rise is not only spectacular but it’s a great way to get some much needed natural sunlight exposure. When you get up in the morning, open your curtains to let in the morning light and if possible get out for an early morning walk. Or even just stand outside on your front step or yard feeling the sun rays on your skin. Every little boost of sunshine you can get can help level out your biological clock and fix imbalances in your serotonin and melatonin levels.
- Create a routine. When you’re suffering from SAD, it’s common to not feel like meeting up with friends or participating in your normal activities. However, it’s very important that you create a routine that gets you out and enjoying your normal activities. Rely on your friends for extra support during this very tough time.
- Light therapy. Recent research studies have shown that up to 50% of people suffering from SAD benefit from light box therapy. The bright light coming from a light box helps stimulate and awaken your biological clock – even impacting the levels of melatonin in your body. Some research suggests that it takes just a few days of light therapy to see a change in those suffering from SAD. However, light box therapy devices are not regulated by the FDA, so it’s important you talk to your healthcare professional about how best to use these devices.
- Serotonin-boosting foods. We are what we eat, and we know that there are some foods that can help to stimulate our serotonin and tryptophan (needed to create serotonin) levels. Fortunately, these foods are some of the tastiest and healthiest we can eat – cruciferous vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and whole grains can all help. Some of our favorites include mushrooms, pineapple, tofu, peanut butter, pistachios, grapefruit, oatmeal, and cauliflower. Support your overall wellness and immune system health with a healthy balanced diet packed with flavorful mineral and vitamin-rich foods.
- Reduce sugar intake. Consuming high amounts of sugar has been shown to have a connection to developing diabetes, some cancers and now it’s believed sugar can impact our mental health. When our energy levels are low, we can crave sugar for an immediate energy boost, but the inevitable sugar-crash can be very serious for anyone suffering from SAD.