WHAT IS SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER?

WHAT IS SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER?

What is seasonal affective disorder? Do you suffer from SAD and not even know it?

It is fall. Today, in Cambridge, it is pretty chilly and it SNOWED! It is cloudy and grey. We are headed into the coldest months of the year and the darkest months of the year. With the change in the season, some people may experience Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is a type of depression related to the change in the season and it is sometimes known as winter depression. SAD starts in the fall, hangs onto you through the winter and subsides in the spring. A few people may not fully recover till summer.

You may experience fatigue, oversleeping/insomnia, weight gain, a generally low mood, sluggishness and you may lose interest in your regular activities. This can happen even if you generally feel like you enjoy the change in seasons and enjoy winter activities.

I am not a winter/cold weather person. I am a bit of a bear and lay pretty low from about November until spring. I do intend to maintain my stretch and walk activities this winter, but I am sure there will be days that the walk is substituted with a good dose of DANCING!

I know people who genuinely like winter. They are skiers and skaters, love sledding and find that the cold invigorates them. I grew up in the country and as a kid making snow men and climbing the huge hills of show along our drive appealed to me. As I got older, I became a sun/warmth worshipper. It does make a big difference to me in the winter if it is a bright and sunny day. The sun is a huge source of vitamin D and low vitamin D levels in the fall/winter may be part of what leads to SAD. Serotonin and melatonin levels (neurotransmitters in the brain) may also drop during this time.

It is normal for any of us to have down days and feel off at times. If you are experiencing long periods of down days, a sluggish feeling body and sleep disturbance, it may be time to talk to your Primary Care Provider. The typical treatment can include medication, psychotherapy and phototherapy can really help!

LET THE LIGHT SHINE ON YOU

Getting outside, even if the day is grey, can help a lot. Walk when it is safe. A stroll around the block can be therapeutic. If you can, set up your work station to have as much natural light as possible. I am fortunate to have a skylight in my bedroom and when I am working from home, I always put my desk at a window so that I can see what is going on in the world and get some sun.

The livefatandfit.com Tool Box has some great suggestions that can help you through this time of year. Read https://livefatandfit.com/the-breath-and-the-core/, https://livefatandfit.com/i-hope-you-dance-lee-ann-womack/ and https://livefatandfit.com/stretching-is-essential/.

You could always throw yourself down on some fresh snow and make a snow angel like you did when you were a kid!!! The next few months may be tough, but these things can help and spring always comes.

When it does, the sun feels GLORIOUS!

Please share your thoughts and topic ideas by mailing lmfvella@livefatandfit.com.

LIVEFATANDFIT AND BE WELL!

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