*shivers* Cold winds are blowing and the temperature is dropping steadily here in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It's a Southerner's worst nightmare (aside from a shortage of flakey, buttery biscuits.) We watch in sadness as our colorful fall foliage is floating down en-mass to the ground beneath the trees and our mornings are greeted with darkness and frost. For some of us, the sadness becomes an actual condition, most commonly know as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
SAD affects us all in different ways - all 10,000,000 (yes, MILLION) of us Americans who suffer from it. We can struggle against our internal will to hibernate, which, without proper sleep and hibernation we can certainly gain similar attributes to a bear - overeating, lethargy, oversleeping, an angry or grumpy demeanor. Likewise, we can lose our appetite, lose our energy, feel physically burdened and weighted down, experienced heightened anxiety and stress and even struggle with suicidal thoughts in some cases.
So, in order to help yourself (and not be a bear and devour your family during the holidays!), you kind of need to know what causes Seasonal Affective Disorder. We researched to try and find the best explanation so that we could, in turn, help you. Psychology.com breaks the "WHY" down the best :
"One theory is that it is related to the amount of melatonin in the body, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland. Darkness increases the body's production of melatonin, which regulates sleep. As the winter days get shorter and darker, melatonin production in the body increases and people tend to feel sleepier and more lethargic. Another theory is that people with SAD may have trouble regulating their levels of serotonin, which is a major neurotransmitter involved in mood. Finally, research has suggested that people with SAD also may produce less Vitamin D, which is believed to play a role in serotonin activity. Vitamin D insufficiency may be associated with clinically significant depression symptoms."
All in all, SAD is not a good place to exist, nor is it healthy. We know what it's like to feel miserable and we wouldn't wish misery on anyone. As such, we've compiled a "how-to" list of sorts to help you with your SADness.
10 Ways to Keep Those Winter Blues Away
- Bright Light Therapy
- Increasing Circulation through massage or skin brushing
- Mood and Immune boosting essential oils
- Plan enjoyable, mood boosting activities
- Drinking water
- Committing yourself to a simple self-care routine
- Surround yourself with green or vibrant plants
- Talk to someone (even if it's just a short phone call to say "hi")
- Wear warm fun socks
- Plan physical activities