S.A.D. is a well-designed anacronym for Seasonal Affective Disorder. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, it occurs for people around the same time of year—usually for those living in a region with minimal sunlight and especially during the fall or winter. Common symptoms for your mental state include lack of interest, irritability or anxiety. It also can show up physically in drowsiness, weight gain or headaches.
S.A.D. is a form of depression and while we’re not health care professionals, we know how the long and cold New England winter months may attract some of those feelings. As always, consult your doctor first.
Usually, seasonal sadness is caused by the lack of sunlight. However, there are several ways to add more light to your day!
Get Outside – The easiest is to spend time outdoors. A quick walk around your neighborhood or simply standing and breathing the fresh air for 15 minutes could turn your day around.
Vitamin D – If you cannot get outside, look into Vitamin D supplements or a special light for Light Therapy. Both of these provide your body with the “sunlight” it craves during dark winter months. Exposure to natural sunlight is said to boost serotonin levels, aka one of the happy hormones!
Be Kind to Yourself – Set realistic expectations of yourself, stay connected with your loved ones, focus on nutrition and movement, and ask for professional help when you need it.
The winter months (especially during a pandemic) are so tough. While the cold months after the holidays may feel like a drag—especially if that rogue snow storm in May hits— we will all be enjoying the warm sunshine our amazing region has to offer again soon.
Be well, brighter days are ahead!