7 Things to Help Get You Through Seasonal Affective Disorder This Winter

 Winter and the holiday season can be exciting and joyous times, but also can uncover seasonal affective disorder (SAD), sometimes known as “seasonal depression.”

 Common symptoms of SAD can include feelings of sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping, changes in weight and/or appetite, low energy, and difficulty concentrating, amongst others.

There can be multiple contributing factors to SAD. As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, a person’s circadian rhythm may be altered, possibly affecting their sleep, energy and mood. The change in season may lead to a drop in serotonin or a change in melatonin levels, two important chemicals in the brain, possibly contributing to depressive symptoms. 

Feelings of depression may lift in a matter of months as winter comes to a close. However, if you are experiencing substantial SAD symptoms, such as depression or low interest, it may be best to consult a medical professional, or a depression psychiatrist in Boulder. They may be able to assist you with alleviating those symptoms through regular counseling sessions and/or possibly medications. 

For mild cases of SAD, here are some things a person may contemplate to help improve mood during the winter months.  However, before trying any of these, be sure to ask your doctor if these approaches are appropriate for you since there is not a one-size-fits-all remedy and there can be risks to any intervention. 

1. Light Therapy Box

It is believed that light therapy boxes mimic natural light, which can trigger chemical reactions that have the potential to lift your mood. 

They can be purchased without a prescription, but it’s best to ask your doctor for specific light-box recommendations, directions, potential side effects, and whether it is indicated for you before starting to use one.

2. Dawn Simulator

Dawn simulators are another form of light therapy. They can be purchased over the counter, as well, and are a type of night light that slowly illuminates your room like a sunrise would.

3. Essential Oils

While claims are often not backed by science, many people swear by essential oils for boosting their mood and working through SAD.

Some of the most popular oils include lavender, sandalwood, bergamot, lemon, and tea tree oil. You can find them in many forms, from pure oils to candles.

4. Vitamin D

Since the lack of sunshine can lead to a decline in vitamin D, taking a vitamin D supplement may help.

5. Omega 3 Fish Oil

Omega-three fish oil plays a crucial role in how the brain operates, and some research has indicated it may help in treating mild depression.

6. 5-HTP Supplements

Taking 5-HTP supplements may help balance out the levels of serotonin and combat SAD. Please be sure to consult with your medical doctor prior to taking 5-HTP supplements since there can be side effects and they are not appropriate for everyone. 

7. Workout Routine

Exercising can stimulate the release of endorphins, which can help combat depression. 

Exercise is a convenient, healthy option that can be as simple as going for a walk or run around the block, or using exercise equipment.

Exercise can also help improve confidence, overall health, and can even enhance social interactions.
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