What Is SAD?
SAD, which is short for Seasonal Affective Disorder, is more than simply feeling down during certain times of the year. SAD is a real issue that affects thousands of people every winter or during periods of darkness (such as in Alaska, where it’s dark for months at a time. It’s usually showcased by feeling sad and depressed during the fall and winter months and then feeling great during the spring and summer. Those who have SAD often sleep a lot more during the winter, don’t feel as energetic, and don’t have much interest in doing anything. They may also have an increased or decreased appetite and may not be able to focus as clearly.
SAD can be difficult to diagnose since so much of it is emotional and there are few physical symptoms. SAD can also be easily mistaken for other issues, including more general depression. However, if you notice that you’re feeling depressed every winter, you may need to speak to a professional about SAD.
How can you deal with this? The first thing you can do is do your best to get as much daylight as you can. SAD is greatly affected by light. The more of it you get, the better you’re going to feel. Sit in direct sunlight if possible, and open up all of your windows to let light into your home. There are even special lamps that have been designed to give off near-natural light that can be used to combat SAD. These lamps are especially helpful for those who live in northern areas that don’t see much sunlight or that have consistently cloudy, overcast days.
Changing up your routine can also help, even if it’s just for a day or two. Take a short vacation during the winter when it seems like your SAD is at its worst even though you may not feel like it. Changing up your routine can help break you out of the cycle of SAD, especially if you go somewhere sunny and warm for a few days.
Take a look at your diet. Eating right is certainly going to give you more energy, which can help a lot. You also want to make sure you don’t get pneumonia or even a bad cold. Being sick on top of dealing with SAD can be a miserable combination, and it often leads to people lying in bed day after day because they have little energy and don’t want to move. Exercise, eating right, and getting a good amount of sleep (but not too much) every day can help. If you keep your life in balance, you will notice that you’re not as affected by SAD as you used to be. Eating right and exercising will also help you keep your energy levels up.
Find Others with the Same Issues
SAD affects more people than you may think. That’s why finding others who are dealing with it can be very helpful. Having someone else who knows what you’re going through can be amazing, especially if you don’t get much support from anyone else.
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These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any diseases.