How to Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder


How to combat seasonal affective disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD, is a type of depression that happens during the same time each year. While it can happen at any time of year, it is most often associated with Fall and Winter (you’ve heard the term winter blues, right?) This is due to lack of sunlight which of course results in a Vitamin D deficiency, it’s getting darker sooner which throws off your internal clock, remaining indoors due to cooler or bad weather (hello cabin fever!) and what I call a “lack of an interesting landscape”; in other words everything lacks the color, vibrancy and fragrances of the warmer months.

I’m bringing this up because in the last few days I kept remarking to my husband, “I feel so tired all the time,” and “I feel like I have no energy,” and wanting to eat every carb in sight. Personally, nothing has changed for me to bring this on. I’m very happily married, am passionate about my career, enjoy my sons and so on. He then brought it to my attention that since the weather has gotten colder, I’ve been outdoors less; it’s getting darker earlier, etc. And then it clicked. During the days of getting my degree in Psychology, I had learned about SAD and recognized the symptoms.

Beginning to feel the same as I am? Here is a SAD check list (as listed by the MAYO Clinic):

Depression
Hopelessness
Anxiety
Loss of energy
Heavy, “leaden” feeling in the arms or legs
Social withdrawal
Oversleeping
Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
Weight gain
Difficulty concentrating

While it is always recommended to talk to your doctor, there are some things you can do to help combat Seasonal Affective Disorder at home.

Hydro Chromotherapy: Light therapy has been used for a while to combat SAD. I love light therapy incorporated with the relaxation of water. Whereas some hydro chromotherapy systems can be very expensive, there are others that simply involve LED Showerheads that are completely affordable.  Prices do range from under $10 to upwards of $150. (Plus it may encourage your kids to actually want to bathe.)

Tips to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder

Aromatherapy: The power of scent can be mood altering. You know this the moment you walk into a spa, light a candle in your home or apply your favorite perfume. Bergamot, frankincense, geranium, chamomile, lavender, marjoram and citrus-derived oils are the most effective for treating SAD. There are some amazing products out there now that add essential oils to your shower head, as well. Essio uses essential oil pods that attach to your shower head, while Elixator uses a shower system. While you shouldn’t attempt to wash your hair while the oils are being dispersed, it’s just another great way to lift your mood (and soften your skin in the process!) You can read Gail’s review of Essio for more details!

Exercise: A great way to boost serotonin and dopamine levels is with daily exercise. If you can get outside and enjoy the Fall/Winter landscape, even better, as you take in some Vitamin D in the process.

Vitamin D supplements: I love NatureMade VitaMelts because they come in Creamy Vanilla. Yum. You can take 1 tablet 4 times per day. And the Vitamin D supplement is great for bone and immune support too.

Phototherapy at the spa: It’s obvious, I truly believe that the spa is more than just a place of escape, but a necessity for a more balanced mind. Many spas offer phototherapy and are worth booking a treatment for!

Have you ever suffered from SAD? What tips would you offer?

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Posted on by Shannon Smyth in Health, Self-Care, Spa, Wellness 4 Comments

About the author

Shannon Smyth

Shannon began A Girl's Gotta Spa! beauty blog in 2005 to morph her love of beauty and in educating women on what truly works and what does not. She has been featured in Glamour, VOGUE Australia, Woman's World, Nail Pro, SHAPE and on WBRE's PA Live. She is a go-to source for social media consulting when it comes to beauty brands.

4 Responses to How to Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder

  1. TheBargainBabe

    Interesting, I had no idea that you could get a lighted shower head like that!

  2. Shannon Smyth

    Isn’t that cool? And it takes no batteries as it’s powered by the water.

  3. Jean

    Vitamin D3 drops are very helpful.

  4. Shannon Smyth

    Thanks Jean! I’ll look into that!

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