Been feeling glum lately? Well, there might be more to your down-in-the-dumps mood than you think. You could be SAD.
Well, of course Im flipping sad, you think.
Chillax. I dont mean lowercase sad, I mean S.A.D. That is, Seasonal Affective Disorder. Never heard of it? Well, let me hit you with some knowledge. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression that usually takes place during the winter. This form of depression is most common in women and usually starts around your teen years or early adulthood. If you live in locations afflicted by long winters, you are at greater risk of SAD.
Like other forms of depression, symptoms for SAD involve some of the following: social withdrawal, unhappiness and irritability, loss of interest in work or other activities, less energy, difficulty concentrating, and increased/decreased appetite.
If you decided you likely have SAD, then by now youre probably wondering what you could do to deal with it, especially if youre working. Well, dont sweat the SADness. Ive got the answers. Just follow these few simple steps to manage your symptoms.
I. Let It Shine
Whether youre at home or plugging away at work, find an opportunity to bring in some natural light. Try to get as much natural light between 6 and 8 a.m. If you can, step out and treat yourself to a walk. Or sit by a window. If youre chilling at home, looking for the sunniest room in the house, and let those curtains fly open. Get out of the office during lunch and get some light in your life. Even if its a gloomy, overcast day, the natural light still goes a long way toward making you feel better.
II. No sun? Get a box.
That is… a light box. Yeah, its a thing. Crazy, eh? For the best effect, the light box must be set at a high enough intensity to improve SAD symptoms—about 10 times the intensity of regular household or office light. You can also get two different version of the light box. One, the special light visor, allows the particles of a light device to enter your eyes. And the other, a dawn simulator, replicates sunrise by turning on when you wake up, and brightens as the morning progresses. Consult with your doctor before buying one of these boxes.
III. Mind Your Diet
Its not uncommon for those afflicted by S.A.D. to manifest overwhelming carb cravings. This is largely due to decreased levels of serotonin—a brain neurotransmitter. So whats the solution? Consume higher levels of tryptophan—a precursor of serotonin. The more of this amino acid in your system, the higher your bodys serotonin production, resulting in a happier you!
IV. Cut back on the Booze and Caffeine
Dont let the java fool you. The more of it you drink, the higher your likelihood of suffering from anxiety, muscle tension, and gastrointestinal issues. And booze? Well, booze is really a depressant. Thatll just drag your mood even more. But dont get so glum, chum. You still have options. Instead of coffee, try herbal tea. Anything from chamomile, peppermint, and cinnamon are better substitutes than that anxiety inducing crap.
V. Exercise… A lot.
Exercise is almost always a cure-all for any situation. And such is the case for those suffering from S.A.D. So if you cant get to a gym, just step out of the house and go out for a jog. Regular aerobic exercise does wonders for not just your body, but also your symptoms. It relieves a lot of the stress that comes with being depressed.
This is even better if you can work out in the sun.
Thats it, guys and gals. Put some of these tips to use and youll be feeling better in no time.
Life is too short to have your head buried under the sands of S.A.D.
So get out there and live your life.
Image Sroue: Light Therapy, iStock