ummer has come and gone, and though fall is a season many enjoy, it’s also the time of year where many people are affected by seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Often in the fall and winter, seasonal affective disorder occurs as a type of depression and is caused by changes in the level of exposure to sunlight. Light therapy is known to be the main treatment for SAD; however, medications and psychotherapy may also help reduce symptoms. What other precautions and daily routines can we implement to prepare for SAD season quickly approaching?
How To Know If You Are Affected By SAD
Ever notice your mood is drastically impacted depending on what time of year it is? There are several factors to look out for to know if SAD is playing a role in your life. A lot of symptoms follow those of major depression, but some of the primary SAD symptoms include:
- Sleep problems
- Changes in weight
- Loss of interest in work, hobbies, and sex
- Feeling useless
- Trouble concentrating
The main thing to be aware of is that symptoms last more than two weeks, are typically there for the majority of your day and always come and go around the same time each year.
Exposure to artificial light has been proven an extremely effective resource for those affected by SAD. Various types of lights are available for purchase and can be used in the comfort of your own home. Amazon has an extensive selection of affordable light therapy products.
Although most of us are affected by SAD during the cloudy, not so sunny times of the year, it’s still important to get outside. To prevent or limit your SAD symptoms, try to spend some time outside every day, even when it's very cloudy. The effects of daylight are still helpful.
Prescribed medication is also a good treatment option for some affected by seasonal affective disorder. Speaking with a doctor about antidepressant medications may be effective for people who have a pattern of SAD and know that they are predisposed to developing it. If you’ve experienced symptoms in the past, starting to take medication in early fall months before the days get significantly shorter may prevent SAD symptoms. It can also reduce symptom length and severity.
Eat A Well Balanced Diet
It’s that time of year where you’re tempted to cozy up inside and munch on comfort food to feel better. Yes, that’s a great idea, but it’s also important to make sure your diet includes enough vitamins and minerals. This will help you have more energy even though your body is craving starchy and sweet foods.
Be There For Your Loved Ones
This time of year can be a tough few months for a lot of people, and especially with 2020 being such an unpredictable year, let’s not forget to check on our loved ones. Self-care plays a huge role when it comes to treating depression, and surrounding yourself with those who mean something to you is how we can overcome 2020 SAD as a community.
Plan Indoor Activities
Having a list of activities you can tackle and enjoy in the winter can help kill time and help you find enjoyment. Build lego, repaint or redecorate, binge Netflix, play a game online with friends, build a terrarium, get a pet fish, the list is endless!