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6 ways to alleviate seasonal depression this winter


Seasonal depression, also called seasonal affective disorder (Sad), is a type of depression brought on by variations in weather. Treatments include light therapy, talk therapy and antidepressants.

Seasonal affective disorder may be indicated by depression that develops or gets worse in the autumn and winter. Picture from Pexels.

MANY people experience a change in mood during the shorter, gloomier winter days. This condition is known as the ‘’winter blues.’’ You might notice that you’re generally more depressed and lethargic.

The winter blues may make you feel worse than usual but they usually won’t stop you from having fun. However, if your wintertime melancholy begins to influence every aspect of your life, including work and personal relationships, you may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder (Sad).

You may have the classic signs of seasonal affective disorder (Sad), a type of depression brought on by variations in weather and daylight that primarily occurs in the autumn and winter if shorter days and changes in the seasons drain your energy and make you feel down.

Why do some individuals develop Sad?

Although experts are unsure, some believe that those seasonal variations may disturb the body’s circadian rhythm, the 24-hour clock that controls how we behave while awake and asleep, causing us to feel alert and invigorated at times and sleepy at others.

The disruption of hormones that control sleep, mood, and emotions of well-being, like serotonin and melatonin, by the change of the seasons is another idea.

Whatever the underlying causes of one’s Sad, the typical signs and symptoms can include: depressive feelings that occur for the majority of the day, every day. In a seasonal pattern its exhaustion or low energy, losing interest in previously enjoyed activities, changes in appetite or weight gain and sleeping excessively.

Here are some ideas you might want to think about, suggest the behavioural psychologists at Cleveland Clinic, to manage Sad:

Consult your physician

A mental health practitioner must diagnose Sad because it is a type of depression. There are a few screening questions that can assist in figuring out whether someone is depressed. Whether you have Sad or another type of depression can be determined by your doctor.

Consider using a light box for some illumination device, like a light box

According to a review published in 2017 in the National Library of Medicine, bright light therapy is frequently regarded as a first-line treatment option for Sad.

Bright light therapy involves exposure to artificial light to help one’s circadian cycle stay on track. Utilising a light treatment box is one approach to test out bright light therapy.

According to the Mayo Clinic, these gadgets, also known as photo-therapy boxes, emit light that resembles sunlight and can aid in the treatment of Sad. Different wavelengths of light are given by the therapy boxes, which are substantially brighter than ordinary light bulbs.

You’ll typically spend 20 to 30 minutes per day sitting in front of the light box.

This is thought to cause a chemical shift in your brain that improves your mood and lessens Sad symptoms.

Most experts advise using the light box within the first hour of your daily awakening. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate light therapy boxes, despite the fact that they are frequently secure and efficient.

Make sure to discuss whether a light therapy box is the correct choice for you with your doctor.

Make interactions with others a priority.

If you have Sad, social activities can be particularly crucial. According to Science Direct, studies have discovered a connection between social isolation and depression, and one of those studies examined the effects of the pandemic’s quarantining on people’s mental health in 2020.

According to the study, prolonged periods of solitude can have a negative psychological influence on individuals, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.

Psychologist research emphasises the significance of coming up with original strategies to maintain relationships.

There are other methods to socialise if the wintertime darkness or weather force you to spend more time indoors than you would like. Experts advise using FaceTime or Zoom chats with friends and extended family when it’s too chilly to be outside or dangerous to drive due to the winter weather.

Follow a timetable

Sad sufferers frequently struggle to fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning. Keeping a regular schedule frequently enhances sleep, which can assist in reducing the signs and symptoms of seasonal sadness.

According to Medical News Today, maintaining a regular schedule will also expose you to light at regular and predictable periods, which is good for your circadian rhythm.

Additionally, eating frequently can prevent you from overeating. According to the Mayo Clinic, many patients who have Sad discover that they put on weight throughout the winter.

Consume enough vitamin D

Lack of vitamin D may increase your risk of developing depression symptoms. According to the National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health, patients with Sad have been discovered to have low levels of vitamin D, which can be brought on by a low dietary intake of this vitamin or insufficient sun exposure.

The NCCIH says that experts are unsure if taking vitamin D supplements can help with Sad symptoms. But making sure you get enough sunlight during the day and including foods high in vitamin D in your diet may be helpful.

Consult your doctor about getting your vitamin D levels checked, first.

Think about avoiding alcohol

When under stress or depressed, people may drink more for a variety of reasons. The Cleveland Clinic argues that when someone is feeling ‘’down,’’ they are more likely to consume alcohol, but drinking leads to increased depression, creating a vicious loop.

Additionally, if you observe that you’re drinking more frequently or in higher quantities than previously, these changes may eventually result in an addiction.

Research from the Cleveland Clinic demonstrates how crucial it is to ascertain the causes of the habit.

Why do you believe you are drinking more, ask yourself. Additionally, consulting your physician can be beneficial if you suspect you might have a drinking issue.

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