Updated: Jun 21, 2021
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a psychological disorder where episodes of depression are experienced at a particular time, each year. Noticing the symptoms of the seasonal affective disorder before it goes on to become a full-blown problem is proven to be of great assistance.
Some of the symptoms that can be experienced if one has Seasonal Affective Disorder are:
Feelings of hopelessness, sadness and/or fatigue
Sudden changes in weight
Irritation and frustration
Heaviness in body
Sudden changes in sleep- Insomnia or hypersomnia
The need to be alone/ social withdrawal
As said 'precautions are better than cure', a few ‘Do-It-Yourself’ or self-help strategies suggested that can be used as preventive measures or a helping hand when dealing with the seasonal affective disorder are:
1. Get as much sunlight as possible
One of the reasons people develop Seasonal Affective Disorder in winters is because of the lack of light. Lack of light causes an imbalance in our biological clock and reduces serotonin and melatonin levels, which regulate our mood and sleep. Getting ample sunlight helps absorb vitamin D, which helps boost energy levels and improve your mood. Taking a short walk outside or sitting outside and trying sunbathing can help you a lot. Increase the amount of natural sunlight in your house and office by opening the drapes and sitting near the windows.
Regular exercise promotes the production of serotonin, endorphins, and hormones that boost the mood. Consistent exercise is as effective as antidepressant medications. Rhythmic exercise also tires the body out and helps improve sleep quality and boost self-esteem. Activities like walking, jogging, swimming, and dance can help you go a long way too.
3. Eat the right foods
While one of the symptoms of seasonal affective depression is craving for carbs. It is vital to eat the right food which will help the body stay motivated and stabilize mood swings. Intake of food with simple carbs should be avoided, rather eating complex carbs (like- bananas, brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain bread) is a better choice. Also, foods rich in omega-3 fats can improve your mood and work effectively.
Eating well-balanced meals with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the day in small portions will help in keeping up the energy levels. It also helps stabilize the mood swings.
4. Reach out to family and friends
Another symptom of Seasonal Affective Disorder is social withdrawal. Building close relationships help reduce isolation. Staying alone might feel more comfortable but being around other people will improve your mood. Some ways you can connect with others are: calling or meeting a friend, having meals together with family, joining a support group for depression, volunteering.
5. Manage your stress
Excess stress can lead to depressive symptoms. Figuring out where and why you feel stressed and dealing with them can subsequently reduce depressive symptoms. Practicing techniques like breathing relaxation, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, and yoga can help manage stress.
Therapy can help you get diagnosed and deal with the feelings caused due to Seasonal Affective Disorder, healthily. Your therapist can guide you with some helpful tips and tricks to deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder.
If you feel like you need to speak to a professional with regards to your mental health, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or Book your Initial Consultation on www.themoodspace.com/freeconsultation
Written by - Ankita Dey
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