Seasonal Affective Disorder and You

Seasonal Affective Disorder and You

wordswag_1549422034600It’s 6am and the alarm goes off. It’s hard to believe that you fell asleep 8 hours ago. You feel groggy, run down and unmotivated to face the day. Eight hours is supposed to be plenty of sleep, right? All kinds of people wish they could get that much, but it isn’t cutting it for you.

You’ve noticed a lot of aspects of your life are falling short. You’re feeling lackluster at work. Your projects are getting done– but they lack the polish that you’re known for. The kids are extra bicker-y and grouchy, and you’re bored with dinner. Everything is dull and tired.

Feelings of anxiety, guilt, sadness and hopelessness are not uncommon, especially this time of year. A study performed by the Department of Psychiatry, Ullevål Hospital, Oslo, Norway found that over 20 studies, symptoms of depression tend to ebb and flow throughout the year, but peak in the winter months. This is especially true of those who have been diagnosed with mild depression.

It is important to always seek professional intervention for disorders like depression and SAD. You may be prescribed medication and engage in behavioral therapy. There are also some easy things you can do at home that may help manage the symptoms. Getting a massage, supplementation, and increasing physical activity are all great ways to help manage this oftentimes crippling disorder.

Massage

Massage is becoming more common as a form of supportive care for anxiety and depression disorders. In an interview with Mark Hyman Rapaport, MD, the Chief of Psychiatric Services for Emory Healthcare, found in one clinical study that those who received a 45 minute swedish massage showed a “statistically and clinically significant reduction on the measures for anxiety and depression.”

Dr. Rapaport is partnering with massage institutes and his own clinical lab to delve into the potential of massage therapy assisting in many psychological disorders.

Supplementation

Vitamin D3 is getting quite a lot of attention these days. More people are realizing their deficiency and starting to educate themselves on its importance in their bodies.

It is a fat-soluble vitamin whose role it is to regulate calcium balance in your bones. You can get it through dietary sources, supplementation, and believe it or not, your body makes it if you are exposed to sunlight at least 15 minutes a day.

That means during the winter months, when we are covered in thick layers of clothing, and limit our activity outdoors, our body’s production of it is reduced.

A  2013 British Journal of Psychiatrystudy study suggests the connection between vitamin D deficiency and depression. You definitely need to get checked to see if you have a D deficiency, and if you do, it’s quite possible that supplementation can help you manage your symptoms. Dr. Nancy can recommend a good source of vitamin D if you would like to try it.

Another supplement getting a lot of attention these days is CBD oil, or Cannabidiol. You can learn more about how CBD works in your body by attending one of our free CBD educational workshops. Bottom line? It has shown to have an affect on mood disorders, pain management, and energy levels throughout the body, further helping you to manage your symptoms!

Exercise

We’ve all heard that we need to exercise more to increase our sense of wellbeing and to help combat depressive states. But if you are already in that state, how do you motivate? How do you pull yourself out of the darkness, and just “do it”?

One way to look at it, is to accept that you’re having a tough time. A lot of us don’t want to admit to ourselves that we’re struggling. But admitting that, and then resolving to do something about it can be really empowering.

If you could make a list of 3 things that make you feel better, elevate your state, what would they be? We’re willing to bet that exercise is one of them. Tell yourself, “Okay, I know I am in this state of mind, I know I am feeling this way and that is fine. I am going to check off these three things from my list, and I know I will feel at least marginally better.”

According to an article from Harvard Medical school, exercise increases your endorphins and stimulates the part of your brain that regulates mood (the hippocampus) to grow and make new connections. That’s a pretty amazing fact that can help you in managing SAD symptoms.

You don’t even have to go hard on your workout. According to the article, moderate sustained activity performed consistently is what will benefit the growth in your brain and make you feel better over time.

Start with five minutes a day, and pretty soon you will be looking forward to your activity and will want to do more and more.

As with any disorder or disease, it is important to seek professional help and get multiple opinions. Remember that it’s your body and and your responsibility to do what’s best for it! Seek out counselors, dietitians, massage therapists, and personal trainers. With a multi-faceted approach, you can manage the symptoms of SAD and not miss out on life!

Resources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5988343/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28892554

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10721866

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23377209

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