As we celebrate the holidays, the weather outside is frightful. When the temperature drops and the sun does not come out as much as usual, we lose that natural serotonin our bodies need to thrive.
Add that to the hustle and bustle of the holiday expectations, as we shop for gifts for our friends and family, plan and cook huge meals, and entertain guests while being extremely cheerful.
Well, what happens if you don’t feel like doing anything? Some people get depressed around this time of the year, keeping them from feeling the holiday spirit.
This is called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, a form of depression that only shows up during certain seasons.
Symptoms of SAD
**The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder can vary depending on the individual, but the most commonly reported signs are:
- Extreme daytime sleepiness
- Consistent sad or depressed mood
- Loss of interest in activities that are usually enjoyable
- Feeling worthless, guilty, or useless
- Sleeping late
- Craving carbohydrates or sweets
- Gaining weight
- Loss of sex drive
- Thoughts of suicide
Ways to Combat SAD:
- Talk therapy, or psychotherapy, is a very effective way to combat your seasonal affective disorder. A psychotherapist or psychologist can help you figure out how to notice certain negative thoughts and behaviors so you can figure out ways to cope with them. The therapist can introduce certain relaxation techniques, antianxiety coping methods, and positive thought processes to help combat the negative feelings and symptoms.
- Phototherapy, or light therapy, is a way of combatting the lack of sunlight that may be causing the seasonal affective disorder. This is done by exposing yourself to light daily with a special lamp or lightbox, if you do not have the means otherwise. We suggest Moodozi’s lightbox. https://trustedconsumerreview.com/top-therapy-lamps/?kw=sad%20syndrome%20treatment&cpn=14988454495&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI34vN1a_59AIVVxPUAR0j5wSDEAAYBCAAEgJJ1vD_BwE
- Devices like these can trick your body into thinking it is actually getting natural light and will trigger the chemicals in your brain that you need to improve your mood, such as serotonin and melatonin. **These lights have to be specially approved by a doctor or therapist to get the best result.
Small steps to boost your mood daily:
- Sunlight. One of the best ways to combat seasonal affective disorder on your own is to get some real, fresh sunlight. Even if you only go out and get some sun exposure for 15-20 minutes a day, it can boost your mood exponentially and help rid of the lethargy you may be feeling.
- Exercise. It has been proven that getting 30 minutes of exercise can increase certain chemicals in the brain that can make you feel good such as endorphins and serotonin.
- Limit Alcohol. Celebrating with friends or family is always fun, but it is important to remember, alcohol is a depressant. It may make you feel better for a short time, but eventually, it will make you feel worse, especially in extreme doses.
- Sleep. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Try to get at least six to eight hours of sleep per night to feel your best.
- Eat Right. Make sure you are getting the right amount of vitamins and nutrients or this can cause feelings of lethargy and depression. If you have not been eating right, consider taking a multivitamin or speak to your doctor about some sort of vitamin regimen that may be right for you.
Where to look for professional help:
Whether you are just feeling blah or more tired than usual, if you are considering talking to someone about your feelings, it is time to talk to someone with professional training to help you efficiently.
BetterHelp.com is the biggest online mental health resource in the world and has more than 2,000 licensed professionals that can help you with whatever you need.
No need for an appointment and no need for you to go to an office. You can talk to a therapist online with your phone, tablet, or computer anytime you are available.