In Florida, only 1% of people get SAD, but in Alaska up to 9% of people have serious depression in the winter. SAD or seasonal affective disorder is not new, but our awareness of it is. In 1984 a doctor by the name of Norman Rosenthal identified the change in people's mood and then pioneered light therapy to alleviate their symptoms.
Besides being more common in northern hemispheres, SAD is also more common in women and does not occur in people under 20 years old. Hormones are definitely a part of the picture. We know natural light produces the vitamin D3 in our bodies (our main mood vitamin), but light also controls our circadian rhythm or our sleep wake cycle. Nutrition also plays a big role in our hormones and the stability of our circadian rhythm, so light therapy isn't the only thing to address with SAD. Since people suffering from SAD have changes not only in melatonin, but also serotonin, getting your hormones happy will help you be happy in winter.
Here's some ideas to consider:
- Check your vit D levels at summers end
- Take a good vit D supplement during winter
- Eat organic foods (glyphosate weedkiller blocks mg and vit D production)
- Limit mood busting grains and sugar during shorter days
- Try safe use of tanning beds 1-2 times/month UVB bed (according to your health history of course)
- Increase natural light exposure
- Increase blue light during day
- Increase red during evening
- Regular exercise
- Stop reading/watching dystopian stories or dramas
Don't feel like you need to do all of these at once. Try a couple get good at them, next year add a couple more. Mix and match until you find the combo that works best for you.
Last, but not least, restore winter's purpose in your life. In our busy go-go culture we have lost the reason for a winter season. It's a time to rest and recharge your batteries, a time to renew your commitment to your dreams, a time to shuck off other's expectations, and a time to fall in love with you again...or for the first time. Everything else slows down during winter, why not you?
Need help taming SAD? Give me a call at 1.844.311.9103. We'll develop a plan that helps you enjoy winter again.