Seasonal Affective Disorder

Do your energy levels and motivation plummet once the summer months are over? Do you feel your best during springtime with more daylight hours? If this sounds like you, then you may be a seasonal affective disorder sufferer, aka SAD.

Approximately half a million Americans suffer from SAD. Did you know that 3 out of 4 SAD sufferers are women? It affects people from September to April, with peak (worst) times occurring in December, January, and February.

It’s unclear the exact causes of SAD, but it seems a deficiency in Vitamin D is a culprit and the lack of natural sunlight. The part of the brain called the hypothalamus does not work correctly, disrupting one’s circadian rhythms affecting one’s production of serotonin. Melatonin is the hormone that makes you feel sleepy, but it gets produced at higher levels, leading to increased feelings of lethargy. While serotonin decreases negatively affecting mood and appetite and may lead to depression.

Symptoms and causes of SAD

  • Hopelessness
  • Low mood
  • Depression
  • Weight gain due to overeating
  • Lack of concentration
  • Sleeping more often than usual
  • Social Withdrawl: Lack of enjoyment in activities typically found pleasurable
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability

Natural Remedies for Seasonal Affective Disorder

1. Lean proteins are also a great source of energy, which you’ll need to help beat fatigue.

2. Omega-3 fatty acids. One study found that people with higher omega-3 fatty acids were less likely to experience moderate or mild depression. Food sources include flax seeds, walnuts, and wild Alaskan salmon.

3. Organic Berries may help prevent the release of cortisol which is a hormone produced by the adrenal gland. When you are experiencing stress, cortisol heads toward your brain that stores memories, providing an emotional response helping to navigate your reaction to the stress. 

4. Limit sugar intake: Sugar may give you a lift at first, but too much sugar functionally changes your brain and slows it down, and then you may feel a sudden crash afterward.

5. Folic acid affects your brain as your body uses it to create serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects mood. Stay away from glyphosate. Food sources for folic acid are leafy greens, oatmeal, sunflower seeds, oranges, lentils, and black-eyed peas.

6. Vitamin B-12: low levels are associated with depression. Food sources include lean beef, clams, oysters, crab, wild salmon, eggs, and organic cottage cheese.

7. Vitamin D is the “sunshine vitamin” because your body can make it by using cholesterol and absorbing the natural sunshine. Just 10 minutes of sun exposure daily can make the difference!. This is why light therapy is an essential treatment for SAD. Food sources include milk, egg yolks, mushrooms, and low-mercury fish with bones. 

8. Dark chocolate may significantly improve mood because of its high polyphenol (antioxidant) content.

9. Turkey: contains the amino acid tryptophan and melatonin. Both have calming and relaxing properties. In addition, bananas contain tryptophan, and the natural sugars and potassium help fuel your brain. Bananas also contain magnesium and may improve sleep and reduce anxiety;

Explore taking serotonin or l-theanine.

Stay away from alcohol to prevent mood swings. A drink or two might help dispel anxiety or relieve stress for a short while. Alcohol is a depressant, so your mood plummets when it wears off.

Other Natural Strategies to combat SAD:

1. Get a lightbox

2. Exercise: Staying active increases the production of feel-good chemicals that can help ease depressive feelings and brain fog. Just 30 minutes of walking for ten consecutive days produces a significant reduction in depression. The frequency and consistency of exercising, rather than the duration or intensity, have the most positive effects to reap the healing benefits of exercise.

3. Get outdoors, talk, a walk! Breathe in the air.

4. CBT, aka cognitive behavioral therapy, is a form of psychotherapy helping people change unhealthy habits of thinking and behaving. It helps alter your way of thinking and focuses on positive solutions.

5. Stick to a schedule

6. As you prepare your homes for the fall-to-winter transition, you may want to consider preparing your mind, too.

Regularly allotting time for mood-boosting activities can help people feel physically and psychologically healthier,

7. Socialize Finding creative ways to stay connected with others during times of increased isolation is essential.

8. Aromatherapy — the use of essential oils for therapeutic purposes like lavender but no lemon

9. Keep a journal

10. Get help

 

You got this by being more mindful and in control of your total wellness; you can achieve all your desires and goals.

Seize the day!

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