As the seasons change, it’s common to experience shifts in mood and energy levels. However, for some individuals, these changes are more pronounced and can lead to a type of depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). If you find yourself feeling down or low during the winter months, you may be wondering if you have SAD. In this article, we’ll discuss the symptoms of SAD and what you can do to manage it.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that occurs during specific seasons of the year, typically during fall and winter. SAD is thought to be related to changes in the amount of sunlight we receive, which can disrupt our circadian rhythm and affect our mood.
What are the Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder?
The symptoms of SAD can vary from person to person, but typically include the following:
- Feeling sad, anxious, or depressed most of the day, nearly every day.
- Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed.
- Low energy levels, fatigue, or difficulty concentrating.
- Sleeping too much or too little.
- Craving carbohydrates and gaining weight.
- Feeling irritable or easily agitated.
- Thoughts of suicide or self-harm.
If you experience these symptoms during the same time each year and they improve with the change of season, you may have SAD.
What Can You Do to Manage Seasonal Affective Disorder?
If you suspect you have SAD, it’s important to seek professional help from a mental health provider. Life Journey Psychological Services has experienced clinicians who can help you navigate the challenges of SAD. Schedule an appointment with us today if you would like help with any of the above symptoms.
In addition to seeking professional help, there are several self-care strategies you can use to manage SAD:
- Get outside during the day: Even on cloudy days, natural light can be beneficial for improving mood and regulating your sleep-wake cycle.
- Exercise regularly: Exercise is an effective way to boost mood and reduce stress levels.
- Eat a healthy diet: A balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve mood.
- Practice relaxation techniques: Techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga can help reduce stress and improve mood.
- Stay connected with loved ones: Social support can be helpful in managing depression and improving mood.
If you find yourself experiencing symptoms of depression during the winter months, you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s important to seek professional help and practice self-care strategies to manage your symptoms. With the right treatment and support, you can improve your mood and start enjoying the changing seasons.