Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a condition in which individuals experience increased depression during winter months. Sufferers of SAD often experience these depression cycles at the same time each year. The onset of symptoms of SAD is often during fall and progresses throughout the winter months. How to Beat Winter Blues and Seasonal Affective Disorder
Sufferers of SAD can experience some or all of these symptoms during the winter and holiday months. These symptoms are often severe and can pose a serious threat to day to day functionality of the afflicted individual.
Like many mood disorders, the exact causes of SAD are not yet completely understood. However, a link has been observed between SAD and the reduction of sunlight exposure during the shortened days of winter.
Behavioral scientist theorizes that this lack of sunlight negatively affects the region of the brain called the hypothalamus, which can potentially lead to serious consequences:
The outlook for sufferers of SAD is not all bleak. The simple implementation of just a few lifestyle modifications can prevent or eradicate the winter blues:
1. Get Moving
Science has proven that 20 minutes of exercise performed a minimum of four times a week has the ability to reduce the effects of depression. The type of exercise an individual chooses to engage in is not as important as being diligent in performing scheduled workouts.
Bicycling, jogging, or a weight-lifting program at the local gym are just a few of the many exercises that will prove beneficial to depression prevention.
2. Get Out of Bed
Increased darkness in early morning hours may seem like an invitation to get more sleep; especially for sufferers of SAD. It is best to decline this invitation, however, as it is pertinent to adhere to a regular schedule of sleep when combatting depression.
A routine wake-up time and bedtime should be established and followed on weekdays and weekends alike. When beginning a routine for the first time it may take a couple of weeks to get used to, so patience may be needed.
3. Don’t Forget to Laugh
Laughter has been clinically proven to induce brain processes that oppose symptoms of depression. Movies, internet videos, and time spent with friends and family are a few suggestions for finding a source of amusement that will provide a much-needed dose of laughter.
4. Plan A Quick Getaway
The anticipation from an individual having something special to look forward to can provide a lift from depression. Individuals can provide this lift for themselves by planning mini vacations. Getaways do not have to be elaborate or expensive. A day at a nearby beach with friends, a tour of a popular tourist attraction in a neighboring town, or a ticket to the concert of a favorite performer can all provide the needed anticipation to rejuvenate the mood of depressed individuals.
5. Eat for Happiness
The food that is consumed can have a great impact on one’s mood and ability to cope with depression. A few food tips that will help in your fight against the winter blues are:
The winter season can often begin a time of torment for individuals suffering from SAD. It is not necessary, however, for individuals stricken with SAD to live the holiday season in misery. The implementation of just a few of the above suggestions can transform the holiday season for SAD sufferers into the joyous time of year that it should be.
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How to Beat Winter Blues and Seasonal Affective Disorder
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