So It’s Chilly Winter. Are You Ready To Counter Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

Posted: January 3, 2018

Winter is here making us feel lazy, some even suffering from winter blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Here are some tips to help you beat it.

Personally, winter is my favorite season. I love going out wearing woollens or leather jackets, seeing the outdoors slightly gloomy with chilly air, a mild fog all around & silence in the flowing cold breeze.

I am sure that I am not the only one who likes winter, that is, normal winter. But severe drops in temperature can bring your energy levels down, taking control over our health, mind and performance level at workplaces.

Winter blues

It’s normal to be little lethargic or sluggish for a while, but if it lasts long, it can be regarded as winter blues. Dealing with winter blues can be hard, and can make us truly ill if we do not look out. It is very important to stay alert in all the senses during winter because being active helps us to maintain a healthy body and make us less likely to fall sick.

SAD

If winter blues persist and deepen, going out of your control and with mood swings, it segues into Seasonal Affective Disorder, mainly recognized as SAD. It is a common disorder found in people during the phase of harsh cold days and could last up to months to the end of the season. This makes a person feel less interested in other activities.

There are some symptoms of this seasonal affective disorder, which are common signs found normally in people with the start of winter. But as winter grows, the level of energy turns down, and so does the motivation to do anything, even socializing with people.

What causes Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

There can be multiple causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which include :

  • The increase of melatonin levels, especially at winter, which majorly affects sleeping patterns & feeling increasingly lethargic.
  • Lack of Vitamin D, as sunlight is the major source for SAD sufferers to get relief.
  • One of the causes could also be genetic.

Seasonal Affective Disorder more in women?

Women are more prone to get the winter blues or symptoms of SAD like lack of motivation, weak immunity, low energy & concentration, and difficulty in sleeping. So it’s harder for women to cope in winter and initially, it leading to a dip in productivity, makes them feel demotivated. This could be because of more prevalence of nutritional deficiency, as well as more of being indoors than men (in many segments of society where women stepping outside home is frowned upon) can lead to lower levels of Vitamin D.

Treatment of SAD

Two highly successfully recognized treatments for seasonal affective disorder include :

  • Intake of Vitamin D, whether through sunlight or having supplements, helps to improve bone health and imcrease immunity.
  • Another strategy or treatment is to have Cognitive Behavioral Therapy usually known as ‘Talk Therapy’ which demands people to talk about their depression and recurring thoughts, helping them to discover their actual thought processes.

Winter blues or I could say winter depression or being lethargic, starts showing its initial signs from the early month of September and could last till April.

When a person feels less concentrated in activities, or even feels like hibernating, having mood swings or becoming cranky at times, they should consider going to doctor. They could even try some psychotherapy to relax the mind which could prove useful for the SAD sufferers in the long run.

Other than medical treatment, I would like to suggest some ways to beat this type of winter depression, dealing with SAD, and moreover how to be more active and to be more productive during winters.

Getting enough amount of light or sunlight

It’s like a boon to get sunlight in winter days or dark days, so stand out and take advantage of it to get more of Vitamin D. For people with SAD, it is advisable to get light therapy to make you feel active again.

Consuming a healthy, enriched diet and essential supplements

To stay active on the severely cold days, along with winter woollens, your body needs internal fuel too, to fight back winter and its effects. It’s important to take in veggies, fruits, nuts or, even as an alternative, some supplements containing Omega 3 to keep melatonin level stable in the body and build immunity.

The best thing ever is to exercise and move your body along

The top way to stay active and create the desired warmth inside the body is to exercise, whether it is indoors or outdoors. Keeping the body active helps in combating the cold season’s influence on you.

Tip: Keep yourself hydrated before and after completing your workout, even if you don’t feel like it.

Get yourself busy with certain activities indoors or making plans to do different things

Another better way to beat off winter blues is to get yourself involved in doing those important tasks which you have been planning for long. Or you can even try some new things online which gets your curiosity piqued.

To keep yourself to stay active at work, carry along a flask of your favourite hot drink

To make yourself stay mentally and physically alert at the workplace and not letting the dark days or cold air make you lazy, carry hot drinks or tea along with you at your place to help keep you on-going throughout the day.

Don’t forget to make yourself flexible

With the rising winters and cold breeze all over, can sometimes make a mild pain in body or tired throughout the day, so it’s better to do some stretches to keep the body flexible after getting out of bed, feeling good and active all over.

Practice meditation to beat anxiety and winter depression

One of the best ways for people facing extreme winter blues or even seasonal affective disorder is to do yoga and meditation to relax muscles and the mind. It helps to get all senses properly awake, improves concentration, and keeps the mind alert during winters.

These are some ways which work best to make you pro-active and healthy during the cold days, maintaining the stress levels to a minimum and being productive all the way.

Good luck with your health and enjoy this winter season!

Image source: pixabay

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An MBA Post Graduate, An avid researcher, A curious knowledge seeker and founder of Artizone.

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