When the nights get longer and colder, many people experience seasonal depression. This is more than the winter blues or a slump you can push through. It is a potentially serious mental health issue that deserves respect and attention. But the good news is that seasonal depression is manageable.
Mental health is just as important as your physical health. Just like you can treat a cold or fever, you can also learn to identify and manage seasonal depression. Allevita’s Brand Ambassadors understand the weight that seasonal depression can put on a woman, and how Epione can help.
What Is SAD?
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), or seasonal depression, is tied to the changes in the season. SAD begins and ends around the same time each year and is not a constant feeling of depression.
How Can You Know If You Have SAD?
One of the best ways to know if you have SAD is to look for the signs and symptoms of seasonal depression. These may include:
- Feeling sad throughout the day over a long period of time
- Losing interest in activities or hobbies that you like
- Having low energy
- Having insomnia or other problems with getting a restful night’s sleep
- Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight in both lack of appetite or overeating
- Feeling moody, agitated, or irritable
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Feeling hopeless, worthless, or guilty
- Having frequent thoughts of self-harm or suicide
- Worsened or more intense PMS symptoms
While fluctuating moods are normal, SAD is an extended, consistent feeling of depression or lack of motivation on a seasonal basis. At times, SAD can look like general depression, but the key part is that it’s an annual occurrence of depressive symptoms.
A great way to self-check if you have SAD is to keep a journal. During the week, record your thoughts and feelings about the day. Be honest about your motivation and levels of happiness. After a week or two, go back through your journal. If there is a constant thread of depression and a lack of motivation and energy, then you could have SAD and should seek treatment. If there are some days that are positive and other days that are not, you might not have seasonal depression.
How Do You Treat SAD?
First of all, if you feel suicidal because of SAD, there are people available 24/7 to help, support, and listen to you. You are not alone. Reach out to 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Suicide Prevention Lifeline also provides a free chat service where you can chat online with someone who can help.
Remember that SAD is not permanent, and you can help alleviate the symptoms and take preventative measures. There are at-home remedies to try, as well as professional and therapeutic options. Here are a few of the ways you can deal with seasonal depression.
Increase Your Exposure to Natural Sunlight
When you have SAD, your body struggles to regulate your circadian rhythm or your biological clock. With reduced amounts of sunshine during the winter months, your body’s internal clock can be disrupted and can lead to SAD. Opening blinds, going on a walk, and making sure you spend time in natural sunlight can help your body’s internal clock get back to normal.
In some cases, doctors will prescribe sessions with a lightbox for light therapy, which replaces the missing natural sunlight with artificial light. At the start of every morning, the patient will sit for 20-60 minutes in front of a lightbox that emits a light that is about 20 times greater than ordinary indoor lighting.
When dealing with SAD, you often feel like you have no energy, can’t get out of bed, and have no desire to do the things you love. However, exercising for as little as 10 or 15 minutes can help you fight against SAD.
Exercise is a natural, healthy way to counteract depression and can be as effective as prescription medications. Regular exercise can help boost your body’s production of serotonin and endorphins, which help improve your mood. And through tiring you out, getting active can also help prevent insomnia and restless sleep.
If you have trouble getting started with a consistent and regular exercise program, start small. You don’t need to sign up for a gym membership and go for the weight rack right away. Start with short daily walks and grow from there. If you are uncomfortable going to a gym, consider visiting your local community center, or exploring exercises you can do from home. Any amount of exercise is better than nothing.
SAD can make you feel socially isolated. Reach out and talk to family and/or friends and let them know what you’re going through. Close, meaningful relationships are vital in helping you reduce and fight against SAD.
Often, we’re tempted to retreat behind a computer and use digital media as a way to interact with others. While social media, texting, and emails can be a good way to get back in touch with a friend, the goal should be to meet in person. Getting coffee, meeting for lunch, sharing in a favorite activity—we all crave face-to-face interaction.
If you don’t have a deep support team you can turn to, consider social events centered around hobbies or topics you are interested in. Being active by taking a class, joining a club, or volunteering your time can make a difference and help expand your social network.
How Do You Deal with PMS and SAD?
Dealing with PMS in addition to SAD can feel debilitating. Seasonal depression can make PMS last longer and be more severe. While traditional treatments for SAD can also sometimes help alleviate PMS, it’s important to treat them separately.
One way to treat your PMS symptoms as you deal with SAD is by using Allevita’s Epione supplement. This supplement is infused with hemp CBD extract, green tea extract, cramp bark, vitamin B6, and magnesium to help you feel like you again. Allevita provides an all-natural solution to the hormonal changes that your body is going through.
Why should you use CBD? CBD is a powerful and natural tool to help alleviate many of the symptoms of both PMS and SAD. It can help with insomnia, anxiety, mood swings, muscle inflammation, and pain.
When you do feel like you are dealing with seasonal depression, consider turning to Allevita to help you find relief from SAD and PMS.