I was speaking to one of my colleagues at work a couple of days ago about the horrible rainy weather that we are having right now and she mentioned that she suffers from SAD, seasonal affective disorder.
This condition usually affects people in the winter in the northern latitudes, like here in Canada when there is not much sun during the Winter.
A doctor is the only one who can really figure out if the depression you feel is seasonal affective disorder or clinical depression or the “blues” that can all be treated in different ways
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
SAD is characterized by recurrent major depressive episodes that usually coincide with the seasonal decrease of daylight during autumn and winter.
The depressive episodes can last up to 6 months. Although patients with SAD may have depressive episodes during other times of the year, the diagnosis of seasonal affective disorder requires that the number of seasonal episodes substantially outnumber the non-seasonal episodes during the individual’s lifetime.
A major depressive episode is defined as the presence of 5 or more of the 9 core symptoms of major depression for at least 2 weeks.
The symptoms include: depressed mood; loss of interest; loss (or other or appetite changes); insomnia or hypersomnia; agitation or psychomotor retardation; fatigue; feelings of worthlessness or guilt; impaired concentration; suicidal thinking or behavior.
One of the 5 symptoms must be either depressed mood or loss of interest in activities.
Another essential feature of major depression is the presence of significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
How To Cure Seasonal Affective Disorder Naturally
Instead of just resorting to drugs to cure Seasonal Affetive Disorder you can also try other things first. Natural cures for these kinds of issues are always that best I think.
1. Get outside in the sun. As we all know the Vitamin D in your system is raised by being in sunlight although Winter sunlight is not the best but it makes you feel great
2. Instead make sure you are taking a vitamin D supplement and get outside just to be closer to nature which should help ground you and make you feel better.
3. Get lots of sleep so that you are not fighting mood swings. Most people are at a sleep deficit and that always hurts us when we are trying to fight the winter blues.
4. Get a Blu Light. At least that is one brand. Having bright light will kick off hormones that will get your energy and mood up. Although I don’t have one myself I look lingingly at them everytime I am at Costco.
5. There are many essential oils that can help with Seasonal Affective Disorder including lemon or grapfruit for energy, frankincense and jasmine for your emotions, and lavender for helping you sleep.
6. Try using St. John’s Wort To help lift your mood, put 40 to 60 drops of St. Johns Wort in a glass of cold water three times a day.
Once called “God’s grace” or “the blessed herb”, this home remedy now has a venerable reputation as a mild antidepressant.
Within the last 20 years, studies have shown that one of its components indirectly helps to increase the mood-boosting brain chemical serotonin. One drawback of St. John’s wort, however, is that it increases skin sensitivity to the sun
7. Supplement with 5-HTP. Supplemental use of 5-HTP may help balance levels of serotonin in the body, which can help you better control irritability, aggression, impatience, anxiety, and depression.
Many studies suggest that 5-HTP may aid in the treatment of depression but if you are already taking and antidepressants this substance may affect them, so be careful.
8. Also make sure you continue to take a multivitamin that contains vitamin B6, thiamin, and folic acid. Studies have shown that all of these B vitamins can benefit mood.
9. Avoid refined sugar like cookies, candy, and soda can alos be a problem as you will get that sugar rush that inevitably leads to a depressed mood when it wears off. Eat higer protein dense meals that can help increase alertness.
10. Finally, I think most importantly you need to get lots of exercise. Don’t try to wipe yourself out with your exercise but instead get in a daily workout that you can be proud of that makes you leave the gym invigorated instead of wiped out.
Just getting those endorphins rushing will make a huge difference to your mood. So get out there and get your workout in today