Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as winter or seasonal depression, is a mood disorder in which people experience depressive symptoms as the seasons change. Other symptoms, which typically build up in the early winter months, include anxiety, low energy, serious mood changes, trouble concentrating, sadness or hopelessness and trouble sleeping (click here for additional symptoms of depressive disorders). Sound like you?
SAD occurs more often in women than it does in men, and can be caused by a disruption in your biological clock or a drop in serotonin or melatonin levels due to the reduced level of sunlight.
So what can you do?
Exercise is nature’s best medicine. Getting just 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a day could eradicate your SAD symptoms (click here for tips on how to keep up with a new fitness regimen). There are also many supplements that can help, including SAMe, 5-HTP, L-Tryptophan and St. John’s wort, but be sure to consult your doctor and work with a board certified health coach before starting any new supplement regimen. Additionally, increasing your intake of Omega-3 fatty acids found in foods such as salmon, herring and walnuts can relieve depression symptoms and have many other health benefits.
Sheri Oppenheimer is a health coach at Sweetgrass Spa in Little 5 Points and the Founder of The 100 Women Project, a healthy social network created by women, for women. To schedule a FREE health makeover session with her ($125 value), call (404) 939-2299 or email Sheri at firstname.lastname@example.org.