Beating the Winter Blues

Nov 1, 2021Health & Wellness, Seasonal Affective Disorder

Dr. Gertrise Thomas, ND.

Dr. Gertrise Thomas, ND.

Whole You with Dr. Ge

I help people of color create wellness plans to shift the mind and body’s stress responses. The goal is to go from triggers to growth and overall health.

As the weather begins to change and days seemingly get shorter, some of us may find ourselves facing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as the “Winter Blues.”

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is marked by a yearly change in mood and energy and affects 1 in 33 Americans yearly. Although the exact cause of SAD is unknown, it is thought to be triggered by the reduction in the amount of sunlight during the fall and winter months. This reduction in sunlight can decrease brain chemicals that affect mood, such as serotonin and disrupt the body’s internal clock causing a shift in the hormones that affect mood and sleep. SAD can mimic depression and may sometimes be misdiagnosed as such. The key indicator for SAD is that it occurs yearly, at the same time of year. If you suspect that you may have SAD, here are some symptoms to look out for:

  • Oversleeping
  • Appetite changes (overeating, craving carbs)
  • Weight gain
  • Drop in energy levels
  • Fatigue
  • Social withdrawal

To help mitigate the effects of SAD, here are a few things that you can do:

  • Broadband light therapy (Light Box)
  • This helps mimic natural sunlight, making up for the loss of sunlight in the winter.
  • Vitamin D supplementation
  • Studies have shown that there is a correlation between Vitamin D deficiency and SAD.
  • Increase Omega 3 Fatty Acids (via diet and supplementation)
  • Helps improve mood and mental health
  • Counseling or Therapy
  • Having a licensed professional to help walk you through the process is always helpful
  • Do the things that you enjoy, daily
  • Find activities that you enjoy and do them daily. If your usual activities are outdoors, you may need to find indoor alternatives for the winter.

If you find yourself feeling hopeless and in need of help, don’t hesitate to reach out to your primary care or another healthcare professional to get assistance. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255

Dr. Gertrise Thomas, ND.

Dr. Gertrise Thomas, ND.

Whole You with Dr. Ge

I help people of color create wellness plans to shift the mind and body’s stress responses. The goal is to go from triggers to growth and overall health.

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