lead-seasonal-affective-disorderAs the days grow shorter, darker and colder, have you noticed feeling different? What you’re experiencing may not just be moodiness. You may be dealing with a bout of what medical folks term Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D.

Most people with S.A.D. tend to gain weight due to cravings or sugary foods, feel constantly depressed or would love to sleep all day. All these symptoms magically disappear as seasons change and days grow longer and warmer. But rather than hibernate and hope for spring to come early, here are some relatively easy ways to fend off the winter blues.

eat-well-stay-hydratedEat well and stay hydrated
A healthy diet is key. Include plenty of fruits and vegetables and stay away from sugary, refined foods.

Drink eight or more eight-ounce glasses of water daily. And incorporate herbal teas like chamomile or lavender to help eliminate stress and relax body and mind.

Take a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement containing B12, said to aid in overcoming depression.

Omega 3 and Omega 6 are essential fatty acids that are known to prevent inflammation in the brain, one of the biggest culprits behind depression as well as seasonal affective disorder. By increasing the intake of EPA and DHA essential fatty acids, you can ward off inflammation and, in turn, reduce depression. Excellent sources are salmon and cod as well as nuts and seeds such as walnuts and flaxseeds. Importantly, take a supplement containing EPA and DHA after discussing the proper dosages with your physician.

light-therapyLight Therapy
S.A.D. strikes people because natural daylight diminishes in winter. Using special lights can enable you to create the illusion of daylight inside your home. You can easily buy a light box that literally “brings sunlight into your home.” Sitting before this light for 20 minutes a day can reduce seasonal depression symptoms. However, talk to your physician as well as ophthalmologist first before investing in the equipment.

Alternatively, you can make your home brighter by adding extra lamps or with a lighter paint palette. Draw back blinds, shades or curtains and add rugs and accessories in shades that naturally brighten your surroundings.

winter-morningWake up earlier in the morning
Start and end each day with natural daylight. Wake up earlier than usual and try to return home before it gets dark. You can also equip bedroom lamps with timers that switch lights on early in the morning so it feels like waking up to natural daylight. These days, dawn simulators are also available for helping people with S.A.D.

Avoid stress
Easier said than done? True enough. To prevent the symptoms of seasonal depression from worsening, eliminate what causes the greatest kinds of stress. For example, if Christmas shopping brings anxiety, try to complete most of it before winter really sets in. Or plan to shop online, thus avoiding crowded stores and traffic. Schedule events like holiday parties and get-togethers for times that do not add to or spark stress. And stay warm as long as possible if the cold adds to your discomfort.

exerciseExercise and Massage
Physical exercise releases those feel-good endorphins, which can reduce stress hormones. Thirty to forty-five minute daily workouts can alleviate and prevent seasonal depression symptoms.

After exercise, a massage can do a world of good to your body and mind. Or after exercising, head for fifteen minutes to a steam bath or sauna.

Essential oils have mood enhancing properties and many oils are anti-inflammatory and nirvana in that they can reduce pain and act as a tonic for nerves.

Use a room fragrance diffuser and experiment with essential oils like chamomile, clary sage, thyme, lemongrass, bergamot, jasmine, lemon and sweet orange to uplift your mood and reduce stress.

meditation-and-yogaMeditation and Yoga
All kinds of mind and body techniques can help reduce seasonal depression. Meditation brings you into the present moment by simply focusing on your breathing daily for 10-20 minutes. Yoga helps bring harmony and peace and also releases feel good hormones, thus reducing aches and pains while helping to fend off seasonal depression.

friendsSurround yourself with friends
Having friends who love and care about you can help cure depression permanently.

Companionship, laughter and good conversation is one of the best antidotes for S.A.D.


Books are available at Click on title to order.
Help is on the Way: Saying Goodbye to Seasonal Affective Depression
by Raymond Bloom


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