With the coming of fall and cloudy days, many people become sad, moody and depressed. Changes like oscillations in temperature, shorter sunny periods and the cold weather affect us all.
If the mood swings are more pronounced and lasting longer, they can be considered as seasonal affective disorder.
What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
The seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression which occurs during fall and winter and vanishes during spring and summer.
According to the American Association of Psychologists, around 25% of people living in the middle and northern parts of the USA experience the symptoms of winter depression.
The production of the melatonin hormone, which is connected with depression, is increasing due to insufficient natural light. At the same time, there is not enough sunlight, which enhances the production of serotonin, the hormone of happiness.
The Causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder
It is considered that the main cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder is the deficiency of sunlight. During the winter, we spend most of our time in closed spaces and we are less exposed to light, which as a consequence has a shift in serotonin metabolism, which influences the mood.
This disorder happens up to eight times more frequently in women than in men. Research shows that January is the most critical month because that is when depression is most pronounced.
Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder
Symptoms of the seasonal affective disorder include laziness, lack of energy, feeling moody, melancholic, solitude, nervousness and the loss of interest.
The seasonal disorder has a tendency to increase the appetite and desire to sleep. There are a few steps you can take in order to decrease depression. Here is a couple of them.
1. Working out
Continuous working out can ease depression, because serotonin and dopamine are released during working out, and they are the causes of good mood.
Although working out is the last thing you would want to do when you feel bad, this is a great way to stop feeling lethargic. The extra oxygen brought to the brain while working out will make you more awake and less slow.
If you’re not the type of person that’s into working out, it’s enough to walk at least 30 minutes a day.
2. Light therapy
This is an efficient way to treat seasonal depression because the body has the impression that the days are longer and lighter than they really are. This type of therapy is invented as a replacement for natural light which is lacking during the winter.
It is recommended to sit under the light therapy box for about 30 minutes every day. The improvements show after a week of therapy.
3. Social activity
Stop avoiding going out and meeting with friends, because otherwise, you’ll feel lonely. Be connected with the people around you, because the isolation will just increase depression and tiredness.
Even though persons suffering from depression don’t crave socializing, contact with other people improves the mood and restores you to balance.
4. Proper nutrition
Shorter days and longer nights have an influence on the condition of our organism, but with the proper diet, you’ll certainly feel much better. Food that needs to be consumed often in order to lessen the symptoms of depression is:
Green vegetables (spinach, kale, chard) are rich with potassium, magnesium and calcium, which contribute to a better quality of sleep, restore tired muscles and regulate stress hormones, ergo influencing the mood.
Beans are rich in folate, the lacking of which is connected to depression. Other than that, it contains fibers that give the feeling of fullness.
Mushrooms contain vitamins B and D, the lacking of which is connected to depression.
Pumpkin seed contains tryptophan, which is important in serotonin production, the hormone which makes us feel good.
Aromatherapy is a powerful ally in the fight against seasonal depression. Scents can influence the improvement of our mood. For that purpose, citrus scents like lemon, orange and bergamot are the best.
Essential lemon oil raises energy levels in the body and serves as an antidepressant. Bergamot oil is also good against anxiety and mood swings. These oils can be used in aroma lamps or for massage.
Seasonal depression can be a very uncomfortable occurrence that influences the mood and quality of life. It slows the person in everyday activities and makes her less productive. With a few simple methods, many symptoms of seasonal depression can be eliminated.