The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding SAD.
Does your mood change as soon as daylight savings time hits? Not really into the Holiday Spirit this year? Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD is a form of depression that shows up mostly during the fall and winter months. Just mix S.A.D. with the lack of sunlight, lack of regular travel, dealing with end of the semester projects for grad school, and grief to imagine the hot mess I’m feeling. Seasonal Depression is real y’all. 😩
Symptoms of SAD
Studies show that changes in the circadian rhythm and less light are triggers for SAD leading to symptoms similar to other forms of depression. These include, but are not limited to:
- Changes in sleep patterns, appetite, and/or energy levels
- Loss of interest in hobbies or activities
- Brain fog
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, hopelessness
- Thoughts of suicide
Self Care Ideas to Help Treat SAD
As annoying as dealing with SAD is, I do my best to treat it through self-care. If you’re looking for a way to treat symptoms of seasonal depression, here’s a winter blues survival guide including self-care ideas that help me get through.
Stand in the sun and it will change your mood. During the week, I like to use my break time to go outside and soak up the sunlight. An alternative to direct sunlight is by using an artificial light therapy lamp. Researchers believe that using light therapy for 15-30 minutes a day will cause a chemical change in the brain that lifts your mood. Whether you decide to use natural or artificial light, make sure to wear SPF.
Work on Hair and Skincare Regimen
Another self-care idea that has helped me this year is working on my daytime and nighttime skincare routines. There’s something about clear, glowing skin that instantly makes me feel good and it is even better when someone else notices.
In addition to taking care of my skin, I switch up my hair care regimen. I like including more hair butter and heavier oils to alleviate dry and brittle hair. If you’re a lazy natural, wearing protective styling is great since they keep your ends protected from brushing against your clothing and give you a break from doing your hair.
Creating has been an instant mood booster for me not only in the cooler months but during this whole time being at home. In addition to publishing weekly blog posts, I’ve been taking daily photos during my free time for school and my own personal use which in turn boosts my mood.
Stay Connected with Friends & Family
Regular texts, calls, and video messages on a daily and weekly basis with friends and family are some of my favorite forms of self-care. Having a strong circle has always been essential to me and 2020 alone taught me the importance of connection. I recently purchased an Echo Show to stay connected with my nieces and nephews and listen to music while cooking.
20-30 minutes of exercise help boost serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins levels. My favorite form of exercise is dance, but I also use home workout equipment to switch up my exercises since I stopped going to the gym.
Other self-care ideas can be journaling, creating a self-care environment or schedule that includes candles, aromatherapy, warm baths, or receiving a massage from your significant other. If your symptoms of SAD are more severe, consider seeking professional help with a licensed therapist or counselor.
What are some other ways to combat seasonal depression?