Turning our clocks back Sunday at 2am is the beginning of a tough time for many people. Are you one of them?
Do any of you notice that once the weather turns cooler and the clocks fall back an hour you tend to be sluggish, need more sleep, feel moody and maybe even a bit depressed? You are not alone. However, if any of the above feelings become magnified, you may actually be suffering from a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as S.A.D. During this time of year the brain produces more melatonin then serotonin, causing biological conditions for depression. It is more common in women than men and usually happens in the fall and winter. However, for some, it hits in the spring or summer. If you begin to suffer from any of the symptoms listed below, it’s probably a good idea to talk to your healthcare practitioner about having blood work done to rule out hypothyroidism, mononucleosis and hypoglycemia.
Signs of S.A.D.-ness
Get in tune with your body and don’t just downplay signs of winter blues when, in fact, it could be a more serious condition. Common side effects of S.A.D. are:
- Sad, anxious or “empty” feelings
- Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Irritability, restlessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities you usually enjoy
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, or oversleeping
- Changes in weight
- Low levels of Vitamin D
- One treatment uses light (phototherapy), which is supervised by a physician and involves sitting in special controlled lighting for a set time every day.
- On your own, you can place brighter bulbs around your home to cheer it up.
- You can also take outdoor walks to get your blood pumping and to absorb Vitamin D.
- Or you can do other exercises – in the gym or at home – to stimulate your body and mind.
- There are medications your physician can prescribe to alleviate the symptoms, or he or she may recommend talking to a therapist, which is a very normal thing to do.
Whether or not you experience the winter blues, be sure to always eat healthy, exercise regularly and surround yourself with loved ones. Don’t fall victim to thinking you are fine and can do it on your own. Like I always say, when in doubt check it out. For it is better to be safe than sorry…and sad.
This information is not intended as medical or psychological advice. Please consult a healthcare professional for individual counseling.
Alyssa Gutkin | Pazoo