It happens every year.
The days get shorter, the weather gets colder, the time changes and all of the sudden you’re heading home from work in the dark. For some people it’s no big deal, but many others may find themselves drained of energy and feeling a little blue. It is possible that you may be experiencing symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of seasonal depression. The good news is, there are steps you can take to help combat these winter blues
1. Stick to a schedule:
• Maintaining a regular routine can help you stay on track and prevent disruption of your circadian rhythms.
• Making sure you get adequate sleep helps maintain energy levels and eating at regular intervals helps to maintain a healthy diet.
Physical exercise helps to release serotonin in the brain, improving your mood and giving you a boost of energy.
3. Get outside:
Take advantage of what sunlight there is. Bundle up and take a walk around the block at lunch when the sun is brightest.
4. Light Therapy:
Sometimes our schedules or the weather just don’t allow for an opportunity to get outside and enjoy the natural sunlight. Light boxes, which give off light that mimics the sun, are a great alternative. Spending 30 minutes per day, especially in the morning, can help regulate circadian rhythms and suppress release of excess melatonin
5. Increase Vitamin D intake:
Studies have shown that an alarming large percentage of people, particularly those living in the Northeast, suffer from insufficient levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to depression, fatigue, muscle pain and a weakened immune system.
During the winter months, the urge to hunker down and stay at home can result in fewer social interactions. Keeping an active social schedule and having a strong support network will help keep you engaged and give you things to look forward to.
7. Talk to your doctor:
It is important to note that SAD is a form of depression and is best diagnosed by a mental health professional. Talking to a doctor can help determine if what you are experiencing is in fact symptoms of seasonal or other forms of depression and whether or not you may benefit from additional treatments such as medications or therapy.
Dr. Kevy Smith Minogue is a chiropractor in Saratoga Springs providing non-surgical treatment of spinal disorders and sports-related injuries. For more information, please visit MySaratogaChiropractor.com or call 518-587-2064.