With summer over and the fall slowly turning to winter, some of us are going to get SAD.
We are going to start having troubles waking up in the morning, the tendency to over eat (especially carbs) is going to sky rocket, and our focus and energy is going to wane. Some of us may even notice ourselves withdrawing from family and friends as well as a decreased sex drive.
Straight up — it’s going to suck.
The condition I am referring to is called Seasonal Affective Disorder or simply, SAD. This is a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the fall or winter.
We get it, in large part, because we are now absorbing less sun light.
In an evolutionary perspective, less sunlight told us it was winter (see: famine) and time to hibernate, move very little, and eat up whatever we find.
To accomplish this task of moving less, do you know what nature “gives” us?
DEPRESSION! (Nature, you are my bitch lover…)
And if we don’t actively try to get sun this fall/winter (skiing, anyone?), we will probably get it some degree as well.
Here’s how we can fight back:
1. Supplement w/ Vitamin D
- Strong correlation between depressed people and low levels of the D (it aids in the production of serotonin – our happy neurotransmitter).
- Besides organ meats and fish, we can only get vitamin D through the sun.
- Take with calcium and with foods that contain a little fat for optimal absorption.
- Most experts recommend anywhere from 1,000 iu to 5,ooo iu a day.
2. Use Light Therapy
- Either from being outside shoveling sidewalks or through using an artificial source such as Full Spectrum Lights, get some sun.
- This will increase the levels of serotonin (Happy, happy!) in your brain.
- Short, 20-minute sessions work for most people while some might need up to an hour.
Sure, there are other tips and tricks to help you battle the blues this winter, but if you have your bases covered (vitamin d + serotonin), you’ll be well on your way…