Staying Upbeat: How to Overcome S.A.D. Naturally
About 11 million Americans have adverse effects to the doldrums of cloudy, cold and blustery, winter days. A more severe form of winter depression—is S.A.D. or Seasonal Affective disorder. This diagnosis comes is typically after at least two consecutive years of more intense symptoms. Usually beginning around October and ending in April, S.A.D. can really cause appetite changes, mood swings and depression.
Here are natural suggestive ways to best beat S.A.D:
✦ Increase the amount of natural light that comes into the home or use light therapy.
“With SAD, the lack of sunlight causes the brain to work overtime producing melatonin, the hormone that regulates your body clock and sleep patterns and a hormone that has been linked to depression. That’s why all things considered, the farther north from the equator you live, the greater the risk you’ll have some degree of winter depression. Only about 1% of Florida residents have some winter-specific discomfort or depression, compared to about half of those living in uppermost parts of the U.S. or in southern Canada.” Source: WebMd
Light therapy is one of the easiest, non-invasive, natural ways to treat SAD. There are numerous research studies supporting the beneficial effects of light therapy for SAD. Special light boxes which provide 10,000 lux are used to stimulate light exposure and are available online and at various stores throughout the region. The daily goal is thirty minutes of direct facial exposure in the morning, while you’re getting ready for work and eating a healthy breakfast.
✦ Exercise helps relieve depression and boost up the serotonin and endorphins (feel good hormones) in the body. If you join a health club, get a work out buddy, set up a regular time to go, you are more likely to get the exercise you need to boost your mood and keep body balanced.
❍ Aerobic exercise
❍ Make a cardio medley. Instead of getting on the same machine every time, pick 3 different machines and workout on each one for 10 or so minutes.
✦ Try group fitness class or stream videos from the internet for free!
✦ Lack of vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin) contributes to SAD. Go outside when it is sunny, or take a trip to somewhere warm! Take a vitamin D supplement or eat foods rich in vitamin D such as mushrooms, cod liver oil, wild fish, oysters, fortified cereals, non-GMO soy products, and almond milk.✦ Eat foods rich in Omega 3’s: wild salmon, omega 3 enriched cage-free organic eggs, wild rice, walnuts, flax and hemp seeds, and assorted beans.
✦ List everything in your life you are thankful for, keep a gratitude journal, meditate and focus on all the abundance in your life.
✦ Put some humor in your life! Try laughter yoga! Learn to laugh at yourself, rent or re-watch your favorite funny movie.
✦ Focus on the positive aspects of the winter or cold days. Keep in mind that sledding, hot chocolate, sweatpants, snowball fights, and building a snowman or igloo wouldn’t be as enjoyable in the heat of July.
✦ Natural Supplements: Other nutrients that can be helpful for people with SAD include omega-3 essential fatty acids, B-vitamins, Melatonin, Saint John’s Wort and amino acids like 5-HTP and L-tryptophan.
✦ Try diffusing or using Essential Oils topically:
❍ Citrus oils have a general cheering and uplifting action on the emotions as well as an energizing action on the body.
❍ Neroli helps to relax your mind. The fragrance helps soothe your mind to help it relax. It is especially helpful to give you a better night’s sleep. It rids your mind of anger, sadness, and the irritability of the day.
❍ Bergamot is a powerfully uplifting essential oil that can refresh your spirit and increase your mood. The citrus smell refreshes the mind and helps put you in a better mood which will ultimately eliminate sadness.
❍ Clary sage can be used for mild depression, aggression, and PMS
❍ Lemon & grapefruit is used for mild depression as well as a great energy “pick-me-up”
❍ Rosemary & basil is used for fatigue, mental confusion, and respiratory concerns.
❍ Pettigrain & bergamot is used for balancing, uplifting the body.
❍ Lavender is used for insomnia, and tension headaches.
Additional symptoms of S.A.D.:
✦ Change in appetite, especially a craving for sweets or starches
✦ Weight gain
✦ Tendency to oversleep
✦ Difficulty in concentrating
✦ Avoidance of social situations
✦ Increased sensitivity to social rejection
Sources: Natropathic.org, health.com, besthealthmag.com, greatist.com, rosyelsawali.com, quinessence.com, newshealthmag.com. centralpark, depositphotos.com