Let’s face it, winter can be tough. The days are shorter, the weather is cold and dark, and it can all start to feel a bit… well, depressing. But did you know that there’s an actual scientific reason for why you might be feeling down in the dumps during winter?
It’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and it’s more common than you might think. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at what SAD is, what causes it, and some tips for how you can combat it, including visiting a psychologist in Melbourne. Read on to learn more!
What is SAD?
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression that typically occurs during the fall and winter months when there is less sunlight. While the exact causes of SAD are not known, it is believed to be related to changes in our brain chemistry that occur due to shorter days and less sunlight exposure.
Symptoms of SAD can include fatigue, low energy, difficulty concentrating, changes in appetite, and feelings of hopelessness or sadness. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms on a regular basis during the fall and winter months, it’s possible that you might be suffering from SAD.
But don’t worry! There are things that you can do to help ease your symptoms and make it through the winter months with your mental health intact.
Here are a few tips:
Get Some Sun
One of the best things you can do for your mood during winter is to get outside and get some sun exposure whenever possible. Even on cloudy days, spending time outdoors can help increase your levels of vitamin D and improve your mood. So, bundle up and take a walk around the block, go for a hike in the woods, or just sit outside and soak up some rays whenever you get a chance!
Exercise is great for your overall health, but it can also be helpful in improving your mood during the winter months. Just 30 minutes of exercise per day can help increase your energy levels, reduce stress, and improve your sleep quality – all of which can contribute to feeling better mentally during the colder months. So, lace up those sneakers and get moving!
One of the worst things that you can do when you’re feeling down is to isolate yourself from friends and family. The social interaction will help take your mind off whatever is stressing you out and make you feel more connected to those around you. So even if you’re not feeling like going out, try to force yourself to connect with others on a regular basis – it’ll do wonders for your mental state!
Try Light Therapy
Light therapy involves sitting in front of a special light box for 30-60 minutes per day with the goal of imitating natural outdoor light. Many people find that this type of therapy can be helpful in reducing symptoms of SAD by helping to regulate their sleeping patterns and increasing levels of serotonin (a chemical in the brain that helps regulate mood). If you think light therapy might be right for you, talk to your doctor about getting started.
Vitamin D supplements can be helpful for people who don’t have enough exposure to sunlight during winter months. Omega-3, 6, 9 fatty acids have also been shown to improve mood by helping with inflammation throughout the body. Talk to your doctor about whether either of these might be right for you.
If you’re feeling down during the winter months, know that you’re not alone!
Seasonal Affective Disorder affects millions of people each year, but there are things that you can do about it. By following some (or all) of the tips listed above, you can help ease your symptoms and make it through until springtime.