How To Manage Seasonal Affective Disorder

 

The shorter days, cooler weather, and covid social distancing is contributing to an increase in anxiety, depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and addictions. 

When we socially isolate ourselves, either for covid or due to the cooler weather, we end up lonelier and sadder.   

 Loneliness is a real problem in our modern disconnected society.  Although people connect socially via social media, they may not have the supportive connections necessary to avoid loneliness.  

S.A.D, or Seasonal Affective Disorder  is caused by low levels of serotonin, low levels of vitamin D, and increased levels of melatonin.  S.A.D becomes more pronounced in areas with very short daylight hours.  

If you suspect your symptoms are related to S.A.D, there are a few things you can do to feel better.  First of all, get a blood test to check your Vitamin D levels.  Many people are low in Vitamin D and could benefit from supplementation if blood test results indicate low levels.  Low levels of vitamin D can also increase depression and anxiety so getting your blood tested will give you insight into your levels.  

Vitamin D deficiency has also been connected to Covid.  “Vitamin D treatment should be recommended in COVID-19 patients with low levels of vitamin D circulating in the blood since this approach might have beneficial effects both the musculoskeletal and the immune system.” You can read more here.

To increase the Serotonin levels, you can consume complex carbs such as sweet potatoes, exercise regularly, and take supplements such as 5-HTP and saffron.  

Besides making sure to keep up with social interactions, you can also supplement with vitamin D, naturally boost serotonin with supplements such as 5HTP or through diet and exercise (Try HIIT Training).   Boosting the serotonin will also help you feel calm and reduce your overall anxiety.  

Using bright light therapy can also help with decreasing melatonin.  You can choose a therapy lamp that has 10,000 LUX brightness.  Sit near the lamp for 30 minutes each morning.  You can read a book or do some guided meditation during this time.  

Having a consistent bedtime and rising routine helps with maintaining a balanced internal clock as well. 

While these tips may help, it's important to note that if you're experiencing prolonged feelings of depression or other symptoms of mental illness, please consider reaching out to a medical professional for help. If you or someone you love is experiencing suicidal depression, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.  

 

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