Fall is hereóand for many adults, so is seasonally triggered depression. As many as 10 percent of Americans suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or winter depression, especially in the Northern parts of our country where winter days are short and dark. Some people turn to their physicians to get a prescription to treat their symptoms of loss of energy, oversleeping, overeating, and mild depression. But what can you do if you donít want to pop a pill?
There are ways to deal with the impact of SAD naturally?
Many individuals suffering from SAD choose light therapy. Light boxes providing 10,000 lux are used to stimulate light exposure. I have a patient who took the summer off from using her light box and started back up in late August, with 10 minutes each morning. By December, when it’s especially dark in the Pacific Northwest, she’ll sit in front of the box for half an hour before heading out to work each day.
It’s also important to focus on a healthy diet. Avoid simple sugars and white flours and instead choose healthy proteins and complex carbohydrates.† Many studies have demonstrated the excellent effects of exercise in the treatment of depression; get out and move, despite the dark and dreary weather.
It’s also important to maintain a healthy level of Vitamin D. Ask your doctor for a recommendation on the right dosage for you, and meet this with a combination of vitamins and foods, including fish, cereals, and milk.
And on those rare sunny days during the fall and winter, get outside or sit beside a window to increase your exposure to natural light. If you’re able to do so, plan a trip to a sunny locale during the darkest days of the season.
Donít give in to SAD!
Fight back with:
Natural sunshine when possible
Photo by Dan