Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a clinical form of season-influenced depression that leaves a person depressed, moody, and listless in autumn or winter, as temperatures drops or when the weather becomes gloomy. SAD is not merely a case of the “winter blues”, but a repetitive clinical condition that can hamper your outlook and the quality of your life.
Some of the symptoms of SAD are consistent with depression—listlessness, the inability to concentrate, increased appetite for carbohydrates, heaviness in the limbs, sudden anti-social behavior, and irritability. This syndrome is distinct from depression and from the normal dislike of cold or gloomy weather in that it is a clinical condition that only strikes at specific times of the year. In rare cases, it can occur with the onset of spring or summer.
Coping with SAD involves several lifestyle changes during the affecting season.
Seek Professional Help
As is the case with any clinical condition, seeking professional evaluation for SAD is essential to proceed with any course of treatment or therapy. Research by the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology reveals that the regulation of the neurotransmitter serotonin plays a significant part on how people are affected by this disorder. Being alert to the symptoms can help the person get the right advice and therapy regimen from a professional. Severe cases of SAD can warrant medications and short-term counseling.
Soak Up the Sun
One of the primary triggers of SAD is the seasonal change in sunlight patterns. Step outdoors and take in the early sun before it gets too warm for a simple and natural way to elevate your mood. Aside from being an effective mood elevator and a good way to help your body generate vitamin D, exposure to sunlight regulates our circadian rhythms—the cycle that governs physical, mental and psychological responses.
Working out or playing a sport is an engaging way to combat the listlessness that signals the onset of SAD during the winter months. If the weather prevents you from playing certain sports, choose a seasonal regimen that mixes a routine gym workout with indoor sports such as badminton, table tennis, or swimming. Exercise triggers the release of endorphins that give you a powerful sense of euphoria and accomplishment. Playing a team sport with friends or family can also help counteract the symptoms of this disorder.
Maintain a Healthy Routine
Routines are relaxing, so long as you keep them healthy. Getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep, avoiding smoking or alcohol, and keeping to a daily schedule insulates your body and mind from the stress that comes with the changes that occur during the winter months. Avoiding excess sugar and unhealthy overages of carbohydrates also help regulate your mood during the difficult months.
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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