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Seasonal Affect Disorder: How to Prevent the "Winter Blues"

Posted by Faith Mackey on Dec 21, 2021 8:00:00 AM
Faith Mackey

With the amount of light exposed to decreasing in the Winter, we are all more susceptible to Seasonal Depression, AKA the "winter blues." Seasonal depression can affect anyone, making it more critical than ever to look out for symptoms and be proactive about prevention. 

What is SAD?

SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder—is a type of depressive state caused by changes in the season. These changes in the season can disrupt our hormone production and affect hormones such as serotonin, a feel-good hormone in the body. Additionally, s we get less light in the winter months, this can have a depressive effect as our bodies start to produce melatonin earlier in the day. 

PATHS Program LLC. Seasonal Affective Disorder

What are some symptoms of SAD? 

  • Increased fatigue
  • Increased irritability
  • Decreased overall mood
  • Lethargy
  • Low energy
  • Fluctuations in weight 
  • Loss of enjoyment in activities you once loved
  • Lack of focus

Ways to Combat it 

  1. Increase your light exposure
    • Lightboxes can be very helpful in increasing your body's exposure to light and mimic the effects of sunlight. Lightboxes are shown to improve mood and energy levels as well. 
  2. Work out 
    • Aim to do at least 30-45 minutes of any type of workout; we recommend a nice walk, yoga, or anything that will get your blood pumping! 
    • Here is an excellent video on a yoga practice tailored to SAD.
  3. Be more social
    • Reaching out to friends and loved ones about your feelings can make a world of difference. 
  4. Practice self-care
    • Ensure that you are eating, hydrating, getting enough sleep, and creating moments of peace. 
  5. Fuel your body
    • As the saying goes, you are what you eat! With seasonal depression on the rise, it is essential that you give your body the proper nutrients to keep it going.

If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, please reach out to a healthcare professional.

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Topics: Social and emotional learning, SEL Resources, self-management, Self-Care, self-regulation