Seasonal Effective Disorder... How to plan ahead!!

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As summer is leaving us and fall arrives the days are getting shorter, weather is getting colder and the clouds are slowly returning. Many would assume that as a Northwest local you just get used to it, which in some ways you do, but what many don’t realize is the extent that the darker ambiance can have on your mental state.

Here is some background… Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD as many professionals recognize it, has a long list of symptoms including depression, anxiety, social withdrawal, weight gain, irritability and inability to concentrate. Recent studies point out that it usually comes on in October when the days get shorter and the sun starts to disappear leaving your body needing to make adjustments that sometimes it does not want to make. Doctors believe that SAD has to do with not the change in temperatures but rather the change in light and the biological rhythm your body creates with the light pattern.

With this disorder being such a powerful and systemic issue in our world here in the Pacific Northwest, we thought it was important to give you a short, easy to do list that will help you tackle this upcoming fall with some tools to keep your mental health the best it can be.

1.    Lightbox or phototherapy: grab yourself a special phototherapy lightbulb and sit infront of it up to 30 mnutes twice a day. This bulb mimics sunlight and all great powers it has to keep your body getting the light it needs. 

2.    Utilizing the light we do get here by going on walks during the middle of the day instead of in the morning or after work. This lunch break activity will not only allow you to snag some of those rare rays but will also give you an exercise high to fight that mid-day slump

3.    Increase your vitamin D intake. This vitamin is a natural vitamin that you usually receive from the sun. Although they believe that SAD has to do with the light cycle, it doesn’t hurt to help support with this associated vitamin. Vit D assists the body in the copying of cells as well which is an important building block.

4.    Stay active with friends and family. Consider getting out of the house, be social and laugh, its one of the best medicines for yourself and SAD. 

To summarize- get outside, get a lightbox, get your vitamins and plan a lunch with friends!