‘Tis the season to be jolly; but for some, this is easier said than done. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) has already set in for many people across the globe. SAD typically begins when days get shorter, characterized by longer periods of darkness. SAD has been linked with increased suicide rates, alcoholism, as well as many other symptoms that go along with depression, a serious disorder that affects millions in the US alone.
While the holiday season is for many a time of togetherness and joy, for some it is a time that brings about enhanced feelings of loneliness and isolation. These people need to consult a physican before their symptoms worsen. S.A.D. sufferers can visit their family physician, find one through their insurance agency, or locate a psychiatrist/therapist here.
Some non-medical suggestions for people who suffer from S.A.D.:
1. Go Outside– Even though you may not want to leave your bedroom, try to take a light 20-minute walk during the day time. You need to get your Vitamin D, and the fresh air will make you feel better.
2. Exercise– In addition to your light walk, try to do some cardio activities in your free time. As a wise woman once said, “Exercise gives you endorphins, and endorphins make you happy.”
3. NO ALCOHOL– While people who suffer from S.A.D. should stay away from alcohol as much as possible (regardless of what time of year it is), you must completely refrain from any alcohol use during the winter months. Alcohol causes your brain to slow down and will only worsen any depression you may be experiencing. Also, if a doctor is prescribing you medication, alcohol may lead to an adverse reaction.
4. Lower Sugar Consumption– Try to refrain from consuming empty calories and limit your intake of simple carbohydrates. Eating foods such as these will cause your blood sugar to spike which will only lead to a crash later on. This crash is only going to amplify your depressed symptoms. If you need some “comfort food” try not to indulge too much or make a delicious dish using healthy ingredients.
5. Sleep-I know you need to check your Facebook, but you need to get at least 8 hours of sleep. The S.A.D.ness will only get worse if you don’t get adequate sleep.
These tips are in NO way supposed to take the place of a physician. To read more on S.A.D., please check out the MayoClinic.
A quick note to family and friends of S.A.D. suffers:
Please know that during this time S.A.D. suffers may respond to their loved ones differently. Some will cling to you closer than ever while others will distance themselves. Please support them at this time in their lives.